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How to select the right home inspector

Selecting right home inspector. Home inspector’s experience and qualifications are some of the most important aspects of purchasing your home or investment property in Ottawa.

Why is home inspections crucial to buying a home?

It is crucial to know the condition of the property before you agree t buy it. It is a small expense for peace in mind. You don't want to have problems after you buy that will cost you money to fix or replace if it can be discovered by a home inspector. You could lose all your potential profit and put your investment at risk if you buy an investment property that is in need of major and unexpected improvements.

Who should you hire as your home inspector?

Make sure when you obtain an inspection from an experienced, qualified and independent person. Find out if the inspector belongs to a major home inspector association in Canada such as the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors and/or its various provincial chapters.

What services are provided by home inspectors in Ottawa?

A home inspector is an objective expert who examines the home and gives you a written opinion of its condition and ideally the approximate range of cost to repair the problems.

What do home inspectors look for during an inspection?

Home inspectors look at all the main components of the building such as the condition of the roof, siding, foundation, basement, flooring, walls windows, garage, drainage, electrical wiring, heating and cooling systems, ventilation, plumbing, attic insulation and so on.

Can I use the home inspector’s findings to renegotiate the price of the home?

Using a home inspector has the potential benefit of helping buyers renegotiate the price of the property before the final (firm) documents are signed. If the report shows problems with a quantifiable cost, you could use that information to negotiate reduction in the properties price to reflect the estimated cost of repair. The seller of course does not have to accept your request in which case you may decide not to buy the home. In practice, if the home inspector finds a major issue most sellers are open to renegotiate the price if a proper, objective third party estimate is attached.

Condition in the Offer

Make sure that you put a condition in your offer that says the purchase is subject to buyer obtaining a home inspection satisfactory to the buyer within X days of the acceptance of this offer. This way it will be your (the buyer’s) discretion as to whether you want to complete the deal or not.

How to find home inspectors

The most common and efficient ways to find qualified and experienced home inspectors in Ottawa is to ask your Realtor to provide at least 3 names you can contact. You can also search online, look at their reviews, websites and blogs, ask friends and relatives and neighbours. Take the time to call several inspectors in your area and interview them.

Questions you should ask when selecting a home inspector

  • Fees. Home Inspection fees range from approximately $400 to $500 or more depending on the expertise required and the nature of the inspection, the size of the home, its age and condition and your geographic area.
  • What does the inspection include? Inspections should include the home’s major components as previously discussed. Make sure that you get a written report and ask if they include photos of their findings. If they provide sample report that is even better.
  • How long will the inspection take? Most residential home inspections take about 3 hours but make sure to ask as it can vary by property type, age and size.
  • Can you ask questions. Does the inspector encourage the buyer to attend the inspection and ask questions? Home inspection is a valuable educational opportunity so buyers should be present and take notes on potential issues and maintenance tips.
  • Experience. How long the inspector been in the business as a home inspector and what type of work was the inspector doing before inspecting homes.
  • Quotes and Estimates. Does the inspector give you a rough, ball-park figure quote of fixing the issues found during the home inspection?

These questions will help you select the right inspector for the home you are buying. The most important take away is that buyers should not skip this important step in the home buying process. There are certain situations when doing an inspection can be difficult such as when the buyer is competing against other buyers who decided not to include one. This may make your offer less attractive but many cases the right home inspector can save you a lot of money and minimize unexpected issues. While a home inspection is not a warranty as there is no way to discover every single potential issue with a building they however, help the buyer find out about the overall condition of the property they want to purchase.

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