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Home Inspections are Still Important When Buying a Home

Macleans Magazine recently published a very good piece on the role of home inspections in the home buying process.  See Want to buy a house? Don't bother checking the foundations.


In the recent pandemic-era frenzied housing market, many buyers have chosen (or been forced) to forego home inspection clauses in their offers to purchase.  This can and does often lead to nasty and sometimes costly surprises.  Listings have been relatively scarce in recent time and demand incredibly high.  It's led a lot of buyers to forego inspection clauses to ensure that their offers were "competitive" with other bidders.


And winners of such bidding wars who might have unexpected repairs on their hands have also been aided by a fast-rising market, giving windfall equity gains.  So the pain of surprises around repairs is maybe more than offset by paper gains. These market conditions, however, are unlikely to persist in a new era of inflation and rising mortgage rates.


There is a lesson that many first-time buyers have or are about to learn: homeownership entry is far more than just the purchase price.  On-going maintenance and repairs can suck a meaningful amount of household income.  Not to mention property tax and insurance costs. The bigger the home, the more the costs tend to be.  As such, it's best to go into a major life-altering transaction with your eyes wide open.  


It's my personal view that all prospective homebuyers should include a home inspection clause into their offers.  This mitigates financial risk. At todays high prices in places like the Fraser Valley, the stakes are high.  That is to say, with a home inspection, at least you're able to identify what the major deficiencies in a home might be and you can budget for their fixes, accordingly.  Assuming you actually have a financial buffer to take such fixes on.

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Home Inspections Are Important When Buying a Home


It is my firm belief that conducting a home inspection is very important in the home buying process.  As a buyer's agent, I always recommend that prospective homebuyers in the Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver include an inspection clause in their offer to purchase.  However, sometimes in hot seller's markets, buyers choose to forego including an inspection clause, in order to be "competitive" in a multiple-offer situation. 


This can often be a mistake.


Not including an inspection clause and not having a home inspection done can lead to regret and unexpected negative surprises, upon taking ownership of a home.  In fact, it can lead to serious financial consequences when necessary and expensive repairs come to light.  This can then really push those with limited financial wiggle room to the edge.


There are many detached homes, townhouses and apartments in Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford, Mission and North Delta that are up there in age.  Homes are even older in places like Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster; the Metro core from which growth has spread outwards into the suburbs.  As such, there can be a lot that needs to be fixed or replaced in older homes.



WHAT IS A HOME INSPECTION?

According to the Home Inspector's Association of BC:


A home inspection is a comprehensive visual examination of the home’s overall structure, major systems and components. A trained and qualified home inspector will review your house as a system, looking at how one component of the house might affect the operability or lifespan of another. Components that are not performing properly should be identified, as well as items that are beyond their useful life or are unsafe. The purpose of the home inspection is to provide you, the buyer, with a better understanding of the property conditions, as observed at the time of the inspection.


A home inspection is an educational process which is designed to reduce your risk when buying a home.  However, it is NOT a guarantee or a warranty on a property.


SOME BENEFITS OF HOME INSPECTIONS

-identifying components of the home that are not performing properly
-spotting items that might be beyond their useful life or are unsafe
-obtaining a better understanding of the property condition, at the time of the inspection
-having peace of mind with a clearer understanding of the condition of the home you are buying
-being able to better budget for needed or anticipated repairs or replacement of components in the home
-having an independent expert look thoroughly at a home to spot issues you may have overlooked or are not qualified enough to see for yourself

IN SUMMARY

 

As a buyer's agent, I always suggest that would-be homebuyers include an inspection clause in their purchase contract offer, for their benefit.  There is great value in better understanding the overall condition of a home before proceeding with a purchase.  Buying a home is a very big financial committment and investment.  It's best to know what you are getting yourself into, with the help of a professional home inspector.


An independent home inspector is an important part of the home buying process and team.  That person is taking a wide-eyed and non-emotional view of a property. Their judgement isn't being clouded by emotion.  Buyers, excited about a particular detached house, townhome or apartment, often overlook deficiencies.


CONTACT ME to discuss this important part of the home-buying process. Or any other aspect of buying a home.  I'm always looking out for the best interests of my clients.



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