Pre-purchase inspection in 5 steps
Whether you are planning to purchase a new or existing home, the pre-purchase inspection is necessary to be sure of the property’s condition. This inspection may allow you to renegotiate the offer to purchase and even cancel it in some cases. This is an important insurance measure that will help you make the right choice and protect you if a hidden defect is discovered.
Of course, hiring a home inspector has a price. Plus, the cost is the buyer’s responsibility. However, you can be sure that this investment is much less than the amount you would have to pay if you bought a home with undetected problems.
1. Find a house to buy
Before thinking about a home inspection, the first step is of course finding a property to buy. To help you in this process, you can use a realtor. These are professionals who offer their services to buyers completely free of charge, since the seller pays their commission once the sale is concluded.
To finance your real estate purchase, it is definitely useful to consult a mortgage broker about your real estate loan. Depending on your situation, the broker will compare the rates offered by the banks in order to find you the best option. Again, you do not pay anything, as the banks pay the broker for finding them new clients.
2. Choosing a professional home inspector
Unless you have a solid knowledge of construction hiring a home inspector is an important step in the buying process. At this advanced stage, you have already submitted an offer to purchase. The inspection report will confirm the house's condition.
The inspector is a key player who can allow you to renegotiate the terms of the offer to purchase, for example, if the house needs some renovation work. In other cases, they may enable you to cancel the transaction if serious problems are discovered that were not previously disclosed.
For these reasons, it is essential to choose an inspector with a number of years of experience in building inspections. Unlike most real estate professionals, such as realtors and mortgage brokers, building inspectors are not governed by the Professional Code, which is why it is important to be vigilant.
However, be sure to check that they have professional insurance covering errors and omissions in building inspection. This gives you recourse if you encounter problems in the years following the purchase of the house.
Need to find a professional for the inspection of your future home? Check out our article How to find a good building inspector.
3. Conducting a pre-purchase inspection
A home inspection is essential for your peace of mind during the buying process. You can simply hire a professional or choose to go with them during the visit to make sure that the house meets your expectations. During this visit, the inspector will analyze the visible and easily accessible parts of the house, to detect potential problems and hidden defects. Amongst the components to be inspected, there is :
- The structure (foundations, walls, ceilings);
- The roof (the gutters, the coatings, the aeration);
- The interior of the house (finishes, floors, doors and windows);
- Building mechanics (plumbing, electricity, heating, air conditioning, ventilation);
- Insulation (type of insulation, air barrier, vapor barrier, caulking);
- The exterior layout of the house;
- Stoves and fireplaces, etc.
4. Delivery of the inspection report
Pre-purchase inspection usually comes after submitting a conditional offer to purchase. The seller has an average period of 7 to 10 days to accept, refuse or submit a counter-offer (the signed contract will indicate the exact date and time). The building inspection must then be completed in a timely manner to verify the condition of the house and allow the sale to go ahead without delay.
Generally, the inspector will be able to deliver their report to you 48 hours after their visit. This time is necessary to study the photos taken during the visit and conduct additional research on questionable elements. The inspection report is a valuable tool that includes tips and recommendations that will be useful to you in fixing any problems that may exist.
5. Signing of the agreement to purchase following a favourable inspection
If your inspector finds no major issues during the inspection and any problems detected are minimal, then it is time to sign the agreement to purchase. The next step is to sign the deed of sale. You are now officially the homeowner!
Here is a tip: whatever documents you sign, be sure to always use a notary. It's all about your protection. Discover How much does it cost to work with a notary in Quebec?
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