If there had been a pre-listing inspection, he would still have them in a row.
Buying a house should be more exciting than stressful and in a more typical real estate market, home inspections have helped both homebuyers and sellers understand the condition of a house – and what should be expected in terms of repairs and maintenance.
In the extremely competitive atmosphere of the past couple years, multiple offers leading to bidding wars have led buyers to purchase homes without inspections. This can be especially risky with older homes, renovated homes and rural homes relying upon private wells and septic systems. Some buyers can afford to repair or replace almost everything and anything, while others - most notably first-time buyers and families on tight budgets, may be in big trouble when the not-so-obvious problems manifest themselves.
ALTERNATIVES TO PRE-PURCHASE INSPECTIONS
1. Pre-listing, or Seller’s Inspection
A home inspection performed before a home is listed for sale, providing the seller with information pertinent to preparing their home for sale. This form of inspection helps sellers decide what, if any improvements are needed or likely wanted to make the property more desirable to buyers. The resultant inspection report can also be offered to homebuyers, signaling that the seller is willing to provide 3rd party disclosure of the condition of the property. This may also encourage more offers from nervous buyers who are reluctant to proceed without an inspection.
2. Pre-offer inspection
A home inspection performed for a buyer before they present an offer to purchase. These inspections have become popular as homebuyers waive conditions in a frenzied market however may be limited in time and scope. A pre-offer inspection can help buyers understand the condition of a house, however unless an inspector is given sufficient time to examine the house properly, buyers may not be receiving the kind of inspection report they were expecting. An experienced home inspector working alone, focusing his entire attention on the property may be able to complete an adequate inspection within an hour – but no less.
3. A Home Review (after purchase)
The house is already sold and the new owner has taken possession, but it’s never too late for a thorough home review. A homeowner can still benefit from the expertise of a home inspector by learning more about the house – and most importantly, what maintenance and repairs need to be planned and budgeted for.
A Home Review performed after purchase should be the same as any pre-purchase home inspection… and without the pressure of time constraints, homeowners have the opportunity to pick and choose their home inspector, and create a prioritized list of repairs, maintenance, and desirable improvements to their new home. When homeowners know more about what may be needed, they will have a better opportunity for preventive measures before little problems become needlessly big ones.
Home inspections: What you should know in this seller's market
Gil Strachan is a professional home inspector, representing Electrospec Home Inspection Services in east-central Ontario since 1994.