So, you have found your dream home. It checks all the boxes—a giant backyard, a two-car garage, and even a swimming pool! It seems almost too good to be true.
Well, it just might be!
In recent decades, the demand for housing has consistently outpaced construction projects across the country. As a result, many Canadians have found themselves incentivized to engage in risky behaviours in order to secure their dream homes. Among the most alarming trends is the growing number of Canadians choosing to forgo a home inspection to make their offers seem more appealing to sellers.
It can be very tempting to proceed without a home inspection—after all, is it not just another superfluous cost?
The answer is no.
A home inspection is a crucial part of the homebuying process. Above all, it is a mechanism in place to protect buyers from a whole host of unexpected and expensive problems.
By forgoing an inspection, you are trusting the seller to disclose any problems with the house. While it is not unreasonable to expect them to be transparent, the reality is that there may be problems lurking about which they themselves are unaware. For this reason, it is advantageous to have an impartial expert come in and assess the situation.
Simply put, a home inspector’s job is to assess whether or not the house in question is in good condition, livable, and safe. They do so by looking at the structure as a whole, ensuring that all of the components are working together and identifying those which are underperforming, need repairs, or nearing the end of their life.
More specifically, a home inspector will examine the structural integrity of the home, the functionality of its appliances, the condition of the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system, as well as its interior plumbing, electrical systems, roof, attic, insulation, ceilings, walls, floors, doors, windows, chimney, gutters, foundation, basement, crawlspaces, and drainage systems, to name a few.
While the province of Ontario passed legislation in the form of the Home Inspection Act to regulate and set a minimum standard for home inspectors in 2017, it has not yet come into effect.
Regardless, it is advisable to seek out an inspector certified by the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors (OAHI). At the moment, the OAHI is the only provincially recognized body of home inspectors by the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors Act, 1994. To find an OAHI-certified home inspector near you, visit their website here.
There are a number of specific benefits to going through with an inspection.
Firstly, it provides buyers with an out. If a buyer is unsatisfied with the results of the inspection and/or the scope of maintenance and repair costs presented, they have the option to back out of the sale.
Secondly, a home inspection can detect safety issues like radon, carbon monoxide, and mold that pose a threat to your family’s safety.
Thirdly, a home inspection will disclose whether or not additions or installations were completed without a permit or are not up to code. The financial burden of illegal additions or installations falls upon the homeowner, and their presence can negatively impact your future insurance and tax rates and negatively impact the overall value of your home.
Fourthly, an inspection can also be a useful bargaining tool, presenting prospective buyers with an opportunity to request a price reduction or for the previous owners to cover the cost of repairs. Relatedly, it can also be useful for forecasting the future cost of repairs to major appliances and other features of the home.
But most importantly, it can provide peace of mind and allow your family to settle in and enjoy their forever home!
While emotion can sometimes cloud our judgement when investing, the benefits of a home inspection far outweigh the cons. A small financial expenditure can save you thousands in the long run and keep your family safe and secure so you can focus on what really matters!
McGarr Realty is a group of enthusiastic and personable REALTORS® who love what we do and where we get to do it! Call our office at 905-687-9229 in St. Catharines, or 905-468-9229 in Niagara-on-the-Lake, or visit our website here!