Tuesday, 8 November 2011

When Home Buying, Mind your Manors!

Homeowner's Inspection Checklist, screenshot CMHCCMHC: Homeowner's Inspection Checklist
Conduct your own inspection to keep your home in top condition.
Image credit: CMHC Publications and Reports

The other day we went on a call and encountered a fairly common problem: termites had ravaged the structure of a circa 1940’s bungalow. A bungalow which, we must point out, was purchased recently.

The first takeaway is simple: get a complete professional home inspection before you buy. That means finding a qualified home inspector you trust, and making sure they give you a thorough report on all potential safety hazards: structure, electrical, gas heating (if applicable), etc.

It also means focused inspections of three key areas: moisture, asbestos and termites. But you may have to request the termite inspection specifically; you cannot assume a standard home inspection is going to find them.

Toronto in general has termite infestations, with pockets in East York, the Beaches, West Toronto and North Toronto. A termite inspection might be a good idea when looking at a cottage up north, too. As for moisture, cracked foundations, rotting wood and black mold are not your friends. And asbestos? Come now, do we really need to point out why you don’t want any asbestos in your house?

Of course, home inspectors aren’t psychic! By law they cannot make holes to look inside walls or inspect foundations below the ground (unless you actually own the property). No home inspection is foolproof. No amount of preparation or protection can catch every problem, especially if some problems are well concealed.

Hence the second takeaway: even with a complete home inspection you still may find extensive damage to your property, especially in basement areas.

Furthermore, should you discover problems that were not disclosed to you by the previous owner, you may consider initiating some sort of legal action (and hope you have a friendly banker to finance the repairs in the meantime). Such cases are not to be rushed into, however. It can be a drain on your resources; it’s often difficult to prove any wrongdoing; and, winning it is one thing: getting paid is another matter.

Attila Lendvai
VP of Strategic Development
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

links: CMHC: Homeowner's Inspection Checklist
Publications and Reports 62114: Conduct your own inspection to keep your home in top condition. CMHC: Home Inspection Checklist
Use this Checklist to review the report you receive from the home inspector. Tips & Advice: Is a Home Inspection Good Enough?
by Leonard Baron

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