Tips and tricks when looking and dealing with home inspectors
1. Choose Before you search. Just like pre-approved mortgages, you should always have a home inspector ready just in case you come across a home you want to make an offer on.
2. Not all inspectors are created equally. Or trained to the same standard for the matter. Interview home inspectors like you would interview real estate agents. Are you familiar with home styles in the area? What’s your track record?
3. Always get one. With today’s housing prices, a home inspection is about .09 per cent of the cost of your home’s value. It appears silly not to get one when an identified issue could potentially save you thousands of dollars. Even if you’ve won a home with no conditions and didn’t have the chance to do an inspection, add a provision that allows you the ability to do one before closing. Better to be prepared than surprised.
4. Pre-delivery inspection. Even when buying pre-delivery units, inspection walkthroughs simply aren’t enough. Those are meant to identify only cosmetic issues with the home. Home builders don’t always have your best interest in mind. You would be surprised how many new homes test for mould because the builders didn’t use mould resistant wood during the building process, when the frame was exposed to the elements.
5. Expect Issues. No home is perfect, and every report should reflect that. What you’re looking for are issues that may cost more than $1,000 during the first year of ownership. You should always put aside about 1 per cent of the home value towards maintenance in a rainy day fund.
6. Get a Home Warranty Protection Plan. Consider it an insurance policy. Just because the inspection is great today, that doesn’t mean the furnace won’t break down within the first six months after moving in. Rather than replacing the whole item at cost, you would only have to pay a small deductible. Like every insurance policy, double check the terms.
7. Even after you’ve moved in? Yes. I always recommend doing a home inspection at least once every five years. Most people would be able to take care of what they know, based on what they see. What about what you don’t? Again, for the value of your home, it would be probably cost less than .01 per cent to protect 99.99 per cent of the value.
Recently, through a home inspection company I used, we were able to identify that the plumbing fittings used are currently in a class action lawsuit. It wasn’t a question of if the pipes would burst, but when. It cost $1,200 to replace but it didn’t stop my clients from purchasing their home and they were quite happy to be well advised of potential issues. Who wants to come home to a flooded basement and a $40,000 replacement bill? Point being, the previous home owner just bought the home the year before and their home inspector wasn’t able to detect the issue. A quality home inspection is worth their weight in gold.