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Posts tagged ‘inspection’

First Time Buyer Friday #11 – When To Walk Away

In my continuing series, First-Time-Buyer Fridays, I answer a common question from a first-time buyer. If you have a question to submit, first-time-buyer or experienced investor, put one in the comments below, or fire me an e-mail at Tim@TimAyres.ca.

Broken house

“Needs TLC”

Q. I made an offer to purchase a house and my inspector found a few problems. How do I know when to walk away?

A. Unfortunately, not all houses are created equal, and you may find that after finally getting an offer accepted on your first home, that the inspection report turns up some issues you missed on your initial viewing of the property. This is normal – it’s the inspector’s job to pick apart the various systems of the home and point out to you everything you’re taking on when you buy the house. The big question is – what is acceptable and what’s too much?

When I bought my home, it was only 11 years old. Everything that I needed to change was merely cosmetic, and if worse came to worse, I could always wait (and suffer through the pastel pink walls and mint-green carpet). But if you’re buying an older home, things like knob-and-tube wiring, a faulty roof, or a cracked or leaking foundation might be a reality and turn your dream home into a nightmare – and this is why an inspection is the best $400 you can spend when you’re shopping for a home.

You should be prepared to replace a few things and make a few changes once you move in, but you’ll probably want a good idea as to how much money this is going to cost. For example, if your inspection report finds that the roof is failing and you’ll soon need to replace it, it’s not hard to get a roofing contractor over for a quick drive-by estimate. It’s another thing altogether if your inspector suspects there may be substandard wiring, cracks in the foundation, or failing stucco or other exterior cladding. These repairs are often much more costly – and sometimes cover up other problems not visible to your inspector. It’s not necessarily the cost of the repairs that is the greatest cause for concern.It’s what you don’t know that can cost the most. If you aren’t comfortable with this, it might be a signal that it’s time to be glad you had an inspection, walk away, and move on to another property.

Your REALTOR® has probably seen lots of similar houses in his or her career and can certainly help counsel you, but you should always get reliable repair estimates from reputable contractors – they are the ones you’ll be writing a cheque to for repairs. The decision to walk away or not has to be your own; you need to be comfortable with any repairs or upgrades that may be necessary when you take ownership of the house.

A smart buyer will also consider if the house will be difficult to sell in a few years’ time if these issues are not looked after when he or she owns the house. The roof might not be leaking now, but the last thing you want is to take a hit on the price of your home because a subsequent buyer doesn’t want to fix the problems you inherited from the previous owner!

As with dating, there are plenty of fish in the sea when it comes to buying houses, and your REALTOR® will help you find the right house. And, also like dating, you’ll probably find that you love that house even more than you did the one you let get away.

I’d love to answer your questions about buying or selling a house. Give me a call at 250-885-0512, e-mail me at Tim@TimAyres.ca or fill in my contact form. Connect with me on Twitter at Twitter.com/TimAyres.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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First Time Buyer Friday #8 – Do I Need A Home Inspector?

In my continuing series, First-Time-Buyer Fridays, I answer a common question from a first-time buyer. If you have a question to submit, first-time-buyer or experienced investor, put one in the comments below, or fire me an e-mail at Tim@TimAyres.ca.

What lurks in the attic? The home inspector knows!

What lurks in the attic? The home inspector knows!

Q. A friend said that if I decide to purchase a condo or a home with a warranty, I don’t need a home inspector. It that true?

A. I would always recommend that you protect yourself from unforeseen problems by hiring a qualified home inspector as a condition to buying the house. In fact, it’s so important that our standard-form Contract of Purchase and Sale has an inspection clause pre-written into the subjects page.

An inspector will cost you somewhere between $300-$500 and is money well spent. Some offer a lower rate for condos or townhouses, while others are the same for all property types. This is money that is spent before you remove your conditions, so it’s a good idea to get the final approval on your financing before you pay an inspector to look at the house. That way, you avoid the frustrating position of  knowing that the house your bank won’t let you buy is safe and sound.

As of March 31, 2009 all home inspectors are required to be licensed in British Columbia. This is a huge step forward in standardizing the industry and protecting consumers. Prior to this requirement, anyone could call him or herself a home inspector without any real knowledge about homes or any formal training! To be fair, most reputable home inspectors belong to a self-regulating professional organization such as the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors (CAHPI).

With a condo or townhouse, sometimes an inspector cannot get access to all areas of the exterior of the building, for example, the roof. It’s important that you get your REALTOR® to arrange access to these spaces. Otherwise, you only get a limited idea of the condition of the property by having the inspector examine only the strata unit you’re buying. Remember that when you buy a condo or townhouse, you are also buying an interest in (and responsibility for) the common property of the building, so it only makes sense to have it inspected to avoid any unforeseen expense.

If you buy a newer home, it will come with a warranty. The good news is that the warranty will cover many things that could go wrong. The bad news is that a warranty doesn’t prevent problems from occurring. Better to spend the money and get it inspected. Often, the current owners of the property can have any problems found remedied before you move in, saving you the hassle of making a warranty claim.

It can be disappointing to have an inspector examine the home that you really like, only to find some major issues that weren’t apparent to you when you first looked at the house. If you have to walk away, you can think of the fee you paid to the appraiser as an insurance premium that saved you from major financial difficulty down the road.

So, how can you find a reputable inspector? Well, it’s comforting to know that inspectors in BC are now licensed, so you could search Google for home inspectors, or look in the Yellow Pages. You may also ask your REALTOR® who he or she recommends. I have three or four inspectors whose cards I carry and would be happy to recommend any of them.

For more information about home inspection or any other real estate questions, call me at 250-885-0512, e-mail me at Tim@TimAyres.ca or fill in my contact form. Connect with me on Twitter at Twitter.com/TimAyres.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

Your comments are welcomed and encouraged!
Just use the form or link below this post.

You can bookmark this post using the button below,
or subscribe to this blog for free updates using the big buttons on the sidebar!