by Susy Alexandre January 30, 2023

The Importance of a Home Inspection in the Buying Process

Credit: Pexels 

A home inspection is essential to buyers and sellers, as it supplies reassurance and transparency in the property being purchased for a buyer, as well as being a safeguard for the sellers, in order to prevent any dispute after the fact with defects or property issues. 

Home inspections not only evaluate the current state of a property, they also help to support the sale price - or provide reasoning for a buyer to reevaluate the value of the home prior to locking themselves into an investment which may end up costing more than they bargained for. 

What Is a Home Inspection? 

A home inspection is the process whereby a professional inspector attends a scheduled inspection appointment for a property in order to evaluate the current physical state of the property. This non-invasive inspection of a property is generally done as one of the key steps in the sale of a home, and is intended to be conducted by a trained professional with the necessary background and certification to do so.

Home inspections generally include attention and inspection of the following: interior plumbing, electrical systems, the attic and any visible areas of insulation, the basement, crawl spaces, ceiling, roof, windows, floors, doors, windows, walls, as well as drainage as part the interior and exterior of the property. Your home inspection may include evaluations that go beyond this list, and it’s important to remember that each home is unique. Variables like property style, affecting environment, age of property and structural components will play a large role in determining which specific checkpoints a home inspection will include. 

On average, home inspections will take between 2-3 hours, though the duration will vary based on the size and condition of the property. The inspector will often make notes throughout the process and take photos of areas of inspection, all of which will be added to a formal inspection report and relayed to you after the process is completed and the report has been compiled. 

The Home Inspection Act of 2017 introduced safeguards in the way of base standards of home inspection contracts, reports, performance and disclosures. While this Act offers some assurances when selecting your home inspector, the industry-wide variance in skillset and experience from professional to professional still requires you to do your due diligence. This is an area where an experienced Your Community Realty real estate agent can offer their insights, connect you with their resources and supply firsthand referrals for inspectors that have worked successfully with their past clients. 

Home inspections are not the same across the board and there are several scenarios where the inspection process may vary from the norm, or be waived altogether. One example of that would be when a buyer chooses to waive the home inspection component in order to make their offer for purchase more attractive to a seller who might be entertaining multiple offers. This is always a risky move, as any resulting issues with the property that might arise down the road.

Another scenario where a home inspection may be waived is in the case of condominiums. For example, many Toronto buyers elect not to have a home inspection in this case, as the scope of inspection for this type of property is incredibly limited. However, when dealing with older condominiums, particularly those where the condo corporation does not have ownership over the systems, a home inspection is more necessary and commonplace.

Why A Home Inspection Is Important

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Allow Buyers to Plan and Budget for Future Repairs 

A thorough inspection will often identify weak points in a property, and though no one wants to hear about “property issues,” these findings by a professional inspector act as a “head’s up” for the buyer. These issues will be earmarked and discussed with buyers, whereby a good home inspector will isolate the degree of concern and urgency for these issues, allowing buyers to make a note of them and plan and budget for any necessary repairs they might require in the future. 

Identify Structural Issues 

Structural issues, to the most severe end, can determine that a home is not safely habitable. In this instance, a home inspection proves to not only be a useful component of the buying/selling process, but a vital assurance of safety for buyers. 

In the case of major structural defects, a home buyer may consider the degree of work and costs involved in getting the property up to par and ultimately elect not to go forward with the purchase. Being made aware of structural defects ahead of time, in particular those which have the potential to push a buyer’s budget beyond what they can afford will save them from making a costly mistake. 

Address Any Urgent Issues 

One of the most obvious benefits of a home inspection is the ability to identify any urgent issues with the home. Whether the cost and work involved in repairing those issues will then fall to the seller as part of an amendment to the purchasing agreement, or if the buyer is willing to assume those issues unto themselves, being made aware of a property’s immediate needs is always key when buying a home. 

Establishes the True Value of The Home 

A successful and thorough home inspection should tick all the general boxes in evaluating the condition of the home. The resulting report will work to either support the value of the home in question - or, the findings from the inspection will put the property’s true value into question and likely initiate some further discussion and negotiations between the buyer and the seller. 

Tips for Choosing The Right Home Inspector

credit: Pexels 

These are a few things to consider when selecting the right home inspector for your property inspection needs:

  • Reputation: a company’s reputation and industry standing, as well as the professionals themselves, is hugely important. Buyers will want to ensure they are going with a company that has a good reputation and a high success rate with past clients. This is where past client reviews, referrals from friends and family, and recommendations from your real estate agent can help steer you toward a reputable company and home inspector. 
  • Insurance: buyers will want to ensure their home inspection company of choice is equipped with Errors & Omissions Insurance, as well as General Liability Insurance and Worker’s Compensation protection. These insurance coverages act as protection for not only the inspector but yourself - safeguarding you against any potential insurance, liability or other relative issues that could potentially arise. 
  • Technical Background/Certification & Training: as with any specialized professional, buyers will want to know that the professional conducting their home inspection has as much experience, accreditation, and training as possible. 
  • Associations: does the home inspector belong to any official home inspection associations, such as the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors (CAHPI) or the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors (OAHI)? 

credit: Pexels

Even with industry standards in place, buyers will want to do their research when selecting a home inspector for this crucial step in the buying process. The decisions buyers make today in regards to their home inspection could have a massive impact on their experience with the property after purchase in terms of cost, safety and value. A Your Community Realty realtor will have the experience, knowledge and resources to help guide you in this process, and will offer the expertise and support buyers need when making this all-important decision. 

For more tips on preparing your home for sale, as well as community info, real estate news and more, check out our blog!

Royal LePage Your Community Realty is Canada’s largest independently-owned Royal LePage franchise, with 1000+ agents and 10 office locations to serve you and your clients. 

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