3 reasons to always do a pre-purchase inspection
Last update : 2023-03-03 15:37:08
After dreaming about it for so long, searching for it and then (finally!) finding it, it can be hard to contain our excitement about what seems to be the house of our dreams. However, we must try keep a cool head and a realistic perspective.
Buying a property requires a significant investment and it would be a shame to spoil the experience by not being careful. Whether it is a new construction, recent or an older home, you should always enlist the help of a building inspector to get accurate advice on what is likely to be the biggest transaction of your life.
What is the role of a building inspector?
Although prospective buyers are not required by law to hire an inspector before signing the deed of sale, an inspector can play a crucial role in your purchase decision by inspecting the property before it becomes your responsibility. An inspection should be scheduled as soon as the conditional offer to purchase is accepted by the seller.
To find out how to properly choose a building inspector, refer to this article: How to find a good building inspector.
The pre-purchase inspection is used to analyze and check the visible and accessible elements of the home to try to discover possible problems and hidden defects. In particular, the expert will evaluate the following elements in an attempt to discover potential faults:
- The roof;
- The cladding and the foundations;
- The outdoor grounds;
- Thermal and sound insulation;
- Plumbing and electrical systems;
- The condition of doors, windows, floors and ceilings.
3 good reasons to call a building inspector before concluding the purchase
1. Having the property inspected helps you plan the work to be done
As we mentioned earlier, the role of the inspector is to check the condition of all visible elements of the property. With their expertise, he will offer a neutral opinion on all potential problems detected.
After the visit is completed, the inspector will give you a detailed report of their observations. This gives you an overview of all the necessary work and its importance, whether it’s urgent or not, minor or major. This list of work to be done will also allow you to predict the additional costs that you will have to invest in the property after the sale is completed.
Note: the inspector's report is not a guarantee that there are no defects. Some ‘hidden’ defects may not be detected, but clues to these defects can be found. In the event that hidden defects are discovered after the sale, the inspection report can help you defend your case before the law.
2. The inspection report can be used to renegotiate
The inspector's observations did not reveal any problems? Great! You can go ahead with your purchase and become the owner of your dream home.
The report contains information you aren't happy with? The existence of a few minor imperfections should not be used to modify the terms of your offer to purchase. But if the inspector's report highlights significant problems requiring major work, you will have valid arguments to support a renegotiation.
You could ask the seller to lower the selling price in consideration of the cost of the necessary renovations. You could also require as a condition of purchase that some work is carried out at current owner’s expense. However, the Organisme d’autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec (OACIQ) recommends asking for a price reduction rather than renovations by the seller, as that option may be more difficult to apply and usually requires a time delay.
In the event that the seller refuses to renegotiate the sale price or to pay for the work, you could, as a last resort, withdraw your offer to purchase. You will then need to send a notice containing a copy of the inspection report to the owner and keep proof of receipt of this notice.
Please note that you are under no obligation to transmit part or all of the inspection report to the seller as part of a renegotiation (but you can do so if you wish).
3. Using a building inspector helps you protect yourself
As we mentioned earlier, it is possible that some hidden defects may not be detected by the inspector. In the event of a dispute over hidden defects, whether a pre-sale inspection was done or not could influence your case.
Indeed, it will be much more difficult to make your point if no inspection was carried out. A judge may then consider that you have failed to fulfill your responsibilities as a buyer and decide against you. On the other hand, having an inspection report proves that you have taken all the necessary measures to learn the condition of the property. So, you have a better chance of winning your case.
The law does not require you to hire the services of an inspector, but it requires that you act with caution (by doing the appropriate examinations to reveal any problems with the property for example). Calling on a building inspector is, therefore, always an informed decision!
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