If you’re buying a house and trying to decide if you should have a home inspection done, we can make it really easy for you – the short answer is YES….in almost every single situation.
In some cases, a buyer will forgo a home inspection in order to make their offer more appealing to the seller, but that is a big gamble. You might get the house, but you might also end up with unexpected costly issues to deal with.
When you don’t have a home inspection you’re relying on the seller to disclose everything that may be wrong with the house and that’s risky because some sellers just won’t do it, while others genuinely may not know.
Having an impartial expert come in and evaluate the house is the best way to get an honest, informed opinion.
And having said that, getting a home inspection is not a guarantee that you’ll uncover every single problem.
1. What a Home Inspection IS:
When you request a home inspection as a buyer, there are 3 things you’re hoping to accomplish:
- Identify any major problems with the house and get an idea of what’s involved in remedying those major issues. In all likelihood you are not buying a new house…..you’re buying a house that may have been built a half century ago and renovated periodically over time. Very few homes are in perfect condition and you need to know what to anticipate in the future.
- This is an introduction to your future home so that you know how to maintain it. If you’re a First Time Home Buyer this will be especially important for you – owning a house can be a lot of work and properly maintaining it is the best way to protect your investment.
- One of the biggest benefits of a home inspection is that it prepares you for the house – what needs to be fixed immediately, in 2 years, in 5 years, etc. Most home inspectors spend the time to give you important maintenance tips (like telling you where the water main shut off valve is located). Your home inspector will provide you a written summary of their inspection & a guide full of useful information about caring for your home.
2. What a Home Inspection IS NOT:
Home inspectors conduct visual inspections – they don’t look behind the walls and under the floors (and yes, sometimes strange things are happening there). They are generally specialists in all areas and often recommend further inspections, when they suspect there could other issues. Home inspectors are not generally looking for compliance with the building codes beyond obvious things like electrical or proper railings, etc.
The Home Inspection Process
A home inspection for most houses takes about 3 hours, depending on the size, age and condition of the home. The inspector will go through the house on their own, room by room ,and look for major issues; they will also assess the attic, the roof and the home’s exterior too. They’ll take photos along the way which will form part of the written report you will receive after the inspection.
What Happens if you Uncover Some issues?
Sometimes, home inspections uncover unexpected stuff – for example, shingles that needs replacing, electrical wiring that needs to updated or a sewer line that requires cleaning. …or worse occasionally. You may need to decide if you want to take on the major fixes or walk away from the house. And we may need to revisit the price accepted on your offer. In most cases, the big issues are already known and have been factored into the asking price, but in some situations, you may need to go back to the Seller and re-negotiate the price based on what you now know. Although a home inspection should not be used as a tool for renegotiating price or to nickel and dime the little stuff that you uncover.
As REALTORS®, our job his to help you navigate that process!
Just a final note on the process! Home inspection companies will generally require homebuyers to sign a waiver of liability, in their standard contracts, clearly indicating the limitations of the inspection. If something is missed, generally the only remedy is a refund of the cost of the inspection.
We work regularly with a number of great qualified home inspectors in Regina and can refer you to one that is right for you!
Here is a list of certified home inspectors in the YQR area:
Of course if you have any questions about the process of buying a home, feel free to reach out to us. We’re here to help!
~ Karin & Jen