Home Inspection Guide for Buyers and Sellers
Why should you inspect the home?
To identify major defective components and safety issues.
To give buyers and sellers a better understanding of the home’s condition.
When preformed by an experienced and registered, trained home inspector, the information revealed in home inspection will help the buyer understand the true condition of the property. The buyer is better equipped to determine what costs will be I most likely incurred in the short term as well as the long term.
A Home Inspection will include:
• A thorough visual inspection of the structure (inside and out, from foundation to roof).
• An examination of all major systems (mechanical and electrical).
• Evaluation of hundreds of components.
• A printed report explaining all significant findings and recommendations.
When should you order a home inspection?
Most home inspections are performed within a given time period (agreed between the sellers and the buyers – usually 2 -7 business days from order acceptance). A clause in the purchase agreement is included making the purchase contingent on the home inspection (there may be other contingencies, like financing).
More and more frequently, some buyers are opting to get the home inspected before an offer to purchase is made. This eliminates the “home inspection clause” in the offer making it more attractive to the sellers. Consult with you real estate agent for their professional opinion as which is better suited for you.
A professional home inspection may take 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 hours. You should make yourself available and attend the entire inspection if possible. This will allow you to ask the inspector questions and see firsthand from the inspector any concerns and issues that the home may have. If you cannot be there for the whole process at least be present towards the end of the inspection to go through any concerns the home inspector may have.
PUT INSPECTION FINDINGS IN PERSPECTIVE
Please keep in mind that very few homes are in perfect condition. From the older Victorian home in downtown Toronto to the newer home in Milton, most homes will need some maintenance or minor repair. A good home inspector will not be highlight the minor cosmetic imperfections but should highlight small issues which may lead to larger problems in the future if not attended to.
A home inspection is a visual inspection. Inspectors are not permitted to remove drywall, carpets or any item to see what’s behind it. Strategically placed boxes hiding foundation crack in the basement may seem like a good idea but an experience home inspector will pick up on that right away. The seller should make the home as “inspector friendly” as possible.
Some realtors prefer the home owner not be present for the home inspection and ask the seller to allow the buyers the 3 – 4 hours of time to thoroughly review the property. Your realtor will advise you on this.
How to prepare your home for the Inspection
Home inspectors are not required or advised to move personal items that are blocking access to areas that need to be inspected. This may result in an incomplete inspection, call backs, additional fees and a frustrated buyer. It is to your best advantage to provide easy access to the following areas:
• Attic access door. This may be in a closet, hallway or garage. Remove clothing to allow access
• Crawlspace access doors, including stored items in the space.
• Water meter and main water line.
• Hot water heater and surrounding area.
• Furnace and surrounding area.
• Air conditioning units and surrounding area.
• Main electrical panel and any sub-panels.
• Remove decorative items from doors and windows.
• Kitchen counter tops and appliances (remove items from the ovens and dish washer).
• Foundation walls, especially the corners of the basement.
• Garage overhead and service doors and walls.
• Provide a safe place for pets. This may mean taking them to a friend or relative.
AFTER THE INSPECTION
Check temperature settings on thermostats to be sure that they are where you want them to be.
A home inspection is a discovery and should not be intimidating. Knowing the procedure and preparing beforehand will make the process less stressful. Contact At Ease Building Inspections with any questions.