Updated: Sep 7, 2019
You’ve finally put in an offer on your potential new home, and your REALTOR has strongly urged you to get a home inspection before the deal goes through. Here are 10 important points to know about home inspections in the Comox Valley and North Island.
1. Why You Need a Home Inspection
Home inspections are strongly encouraged for all buyers for two main reasons:
a. To determine any visual problems with the home
While it may be obvious that a fence is collapsing, it’s not always clear what a large crack in the concrete might mean for the future of your home. Even though they may not be able to detect all the issues, a good inspector can help you identify most problems and give you a reasonable indication of what to expect down the road. Other people have been living in your home, and they may not have been as gentle or meticulous as you are.
b. To understand how much time will be needed to maintain the property
You can already picture your friends and family hanging out on that enormous deck, but how much time will you have to spend each year to maintain it in order to protect your investment? How much maintenance will your chimney require? Your inspector can give you some estimates.
2. What You Won’t Get in a Home Inspection
Home inspectors can only inspect what they can see. They won’t move heavy cabinets in order to examine electrical outlets and won’t pick up a sledge hammer to find out exactly what is happening behind those walls. What they can do is determine visible problems and note signs which can indicate larger, hidden problems. They usually have a network of specialists to recommend if the problem is too specific or if they lack the necessary experience in a certain area.
3. Preparation for Your Home's Future.
A home inspection gives you a timeline of what to expect financially in the future; for example, will you need to pay for a new fence in 2 years? Should you start saving for a new roof immediately, or will it withstand another few years?
A good home inspector will both give you a written summary of the inspection and tips on how to look after your home. In BC, home inspectors must be licensed, insured and have completed a criminal record check. It's also smart to find out if the inspector is independent or part of a home inspector association. Association membership requires the inspector to follow standards of practice. Make sure you clarify with your inspector what the inspection will include before hiring. Check out Consumer Protection BC for tips on hiring a good home inspector.
4. The Home Inspection Process
You can expect your home inspection to take approximately 2-3 hours. Your inspector should investigate every room in the home, looking for signs of current and future problems. This includes the attic and the roof as well. Your home inspector may include pictures of problem areas in your report.
5. Uncovering Something Terrible in the Inspection
All houses come with their own surprises – some are minor, but some can be catastrophic to your investment. A home inspection may reveal that your perfect home has outdated electrical wiring or will need a new roof in the next two years. This is when you need to carefully evaluate your budget and determine whether you believe the house is still worth the price you originally offered. You also need to decide if you have the stomach to live through potentially lengthy renovations. If you really love the home, this is the time to attempt to renegotiate the price armed with your new information.
This is where a great REALTOR can assist you; Erik can help you identify which problems are insignificant and which problems could drastically reduce the market value of the house.
He can also help you find a trusted and conscientious home inspector who will help you determine existing problems and give you peace of mind about your future investment.
Stay tuned for five more points about home inspections, or find out more information about qualified home inspectors at Consumer Protection BC.