What is a Home Inspection?
A home inspection is a professional, objective, visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home; and should result in a detailed written report describing the condition of the home. It should not be confused with an appraisal, a municipal code inspection, or a guarantee of any kind, but as a tool to aid the buyer, to be better prepared and knowledgeable.
Why do a Home Inspection?
The home inspector’s service to the home buyer is primarily one of education. The goal of the inspector is to provide the buyer with a better understanding of the physical condition of the home in order to make a well informed decision. It helps the buyer to determine whether there are any major defects, system inadequacies or safety hazards at the time of purchase, so that there will be no unpleasant surprises or insurmountable financial burdens later on.
Many home buyers may have a relative or friend in the building trades who may offer the benefit of their experience with friendly advice. However, it is usually not to the buyer’s advantage to rely on opinions which may not be completely objective. It would be wiser to contact a trained professional.
What should the inspection include?
It should include a thorough examination of the home, inside and out, and from top to bottom. It should include an inspection and report on the home’s structure, roof, exterior, plumbing, heating, electrical, interior, and attic, plus insulation, ventilation, the lot grading and any potiential for basement dampness.
Home inspections are not intended to point out every small problem or defect in a home. Routine maintenance and cosmetic flaws, for example, should be apparent without the aid of a professional inspector.
Home Inspections Increase Buyer Satisfaction
A buyer who decides to purchase a home based on objective, professional information will know more about the property and be more satisfied with it than one who does not. He or she will understand that no home is perfect and will know in advance that some maintenance and repair work will be necessary.
Home inspections will also highlight the positive aspects of a home. In fact, many of the home inspector’s observations or recommendations help to dispel home buyer anxieties, and provide useful repair suggestions.
It is important to understand that the inspection is not intended to be used by the buyer to automatically renegotiate the price; however it may be an option to be explored in cases where the inspection has uncovered major expenses that the buyer is not willing to accept. It is also important to point out that the market value of a property has usually been adjusted downward to reflect the deficiencies.
The Role of the Salesperson
The salesperson’s role is to help buyer and the seller better understand the purpose and process of the home inspection and to assist in arranging the inspection with the inspector. In Nova Scotia the most common arrangement is that the buyer will make an offer subject to an inspection being carried out. The standard “Agreement of Purchase and Sale” already has a pre-written clause to allow the buyer to obtain an inspector of their choice, and to have the inspection carried out within a specific time period, and the inspection must meet the buyer’s satisfaction.