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Skipping home inspections a major red flag for new buyers

August 8, 2018 | Posted by: Aaron Baxandall

Having a detailed walk-through to locate problems worth
the investment in long run
Mike Holmes May 5, 2018
Depending on where you live, the real estate market has been really hot the last few years. The
sad truth is, for many new homeowners, to even have a chance of closing a sale, they’ve had to
completely forgo the home inspection, among other less than ideal conditions. I understand the
panic that sets in, and the way prices rose, it’s natural that they wanted to get into the market
before they were completely priced out. How does the saying go: The best time to buy real estate
is five years ago?
Unfortunately, I’m starting to hear stories from those new homeowners who skipped that crucial
inspection step in the process, and are now starting to see some of the “hidden” costs of home
ownership that could have been planned for, had they hired a good inspector.
Looking at the stats recently, a bit of a shift is starting. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a sellers’
market out there. But the sales numbers are starting to slow, and home prices in many areas are
As we move into spring, which generally sees more home transactions than the winter, I want to
once again, stress the importance of getting a home inspection before you buy a property. It’s
some of the smartest money you can spend when buying a home. It matters!
Why you want a home inspection
Getting a home inspection before buying a home can save you a major headache down the road,
not to mention tens of thousands of dollars. A house can look good, with shiny new countertops,
and some fresh bright paint, but you don’t know what’s going on behind the walls.
When you walk through a potential home with an inspector (and I always recommend to attend
the inspection, if possible), they can point out any major red flags with a home. Inspectors are
trained to look beyond the lipstick and mascara of a home, and put a spotlight on the major
structural aspects of the home, as well as its systems.
If a home’s roof is on its way out, or the wiring and HVAC are in need of updating, these are
things you want to know about BEFORE you make an offer, not during your first winter in the
home when the heat shuts off out of nowhere.
I always say that a home inspection is never wasted money because it can give you an idea of
what issues a home will have down the line — and when. If you know you’ll need to update the
roof in the next 10 years, then it’s something you can plan ahead of time. To me, the few
hundred dollars you’ll spend on an inspection is worth the peace of mind.
I just read about a survey in Quebec that stated 25 per cent of homeowners in the province
experienced considerable issues within the first five years of their home ownership. I’m betting a
lot of these homeowners skipped the inspection process. Not a lot of things make me nervous,
but buying a home blind does. If I had to buy a house on the condition that I skip the inspection,
well, I’d walk away even if I fell in love with the property at first sight.
Who to hire?
In Ontario, I’ve been really happy to see progress made in the regulation of the home inspection
industry. For a while, there was nothing to stop any Tom, Dick or Harry from picking up a
flashlight and a ladder, and calling themselves a home inspector. Requiring that all home
inspectors are licensed and insured will go a long way to protecting vulnerable homeowners.
Even if inspectors are licensed and insured, it still pays to do your homework. Before you hire,
ask them for references, find out how long they’ve been in business and find out what their
previous work experience was. Ideally, you’ll want to find an inspector who has experience in
residential construction or engineering. Transferable skills will help them take a careful lens to
your home, and find areas in need of attention.
For most of us, buying a home will be the biggest purchase we ever make. Don’t let your dream
home turn into a lasting nightmare; hire an inspector. Trust me.

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