inspector with magnifying glass

Pre-Purchase Inspections

Status Inspection & Design ®
506-461-0549    chuk@status.ca

What is a Pre-purchase Inspection?
A professional visual examination of a building's construction to: verify the nature and condition of its components ascertain the need and priority of any major repairs,suggest ways to reduce operating and maintenance costs, uncover any hazards and safety concerns to inform and familiarize the Purchaser with the property and ascertain the need and priority of major repairs and upgrades.

Why are Pre-purchase Inspections so important?
The average time that Buyers look at a house before deciding to make an offer is approximately 17 minutes. Apart from a new home warranty, a builder's guarantee or a carefully worded offer, Buyers have more protection buying a toaster than a home or other building. i.e. 'at least the toaster will have a guarantee'.

Is an Appraisal the same as a Pre-purchase Inspection?
No! basically, inspections protect the Purchaser while appraisals protect the Lender. Appraisals (mortgage lending) establish the fair market value of properties. Pre-purchase Inspections establish a property's physical construction and condition. Appraisals normally involve a 45-60 minute on-site inspection while Pre-purchase Inspections range from 2 to 6 1/2 hours or more, depending on the thoroughness of the Inspector.

Do all houses need inspection or just older ones?
Yes, regardless of age, the financial investment of buying any home is usually considerable. There is no guarantee that a home is better built just because it's new or of recent vintage. Like insurance, inspections greatly reduce the Buyer's risk, for a minimal fee. The two big advantages of inspecting a new home are: deficiencies can be caught within the guarantee period and its construction can be evaluated for conformance to ;national and local building code standards.
NOTE Most Inspectors are not qualified to do engineering calculations or fully familiar with Building Codes.

What about Vendor or Property Disclosure Forms?
The Vendor Disclosure Form otherwise known as Property Condition Disclosure Statement, is normally provided and signed by the Vendor. However, it is the Buyer's responsibility to verify its accuracy. The Agent and Realtor assume no responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information.

What about the Atlantic New Home Warranty?
Under the warranty "the builder will repair all defects in materials and workmanship during the first year of ownership." * The warranty will then provide "protection against major structural defects during the four years following, up to a maximum of $30,000" * * Quoted from the Atlantic New Home Warranty Corporation pamphlet. Phone (506) 853-0111
Atalanitc New Home Warranty

How does a Pre-purchase Inspection protect the Purchaser ?
Information is the key to protecting a Buyer's investment. Along with the positive aspects, reports identify any major defects or repairs of which the Buyer may not have been aware and may wish to consider. This allows the Buyer to budget for the cost of repairs and upgrades or re-evaluate his or her offer.

How do you ensure that you are protected by an inspection?
Simply make your offer conditional on a Pre-purchase Inspection by including a Pre-purchase Inspection clause in your offer (Agreement of Purchase and Sale). For scheduling flexibility, Buyers should allow (5) to (7) banking days (minimum) after the final acceptance of the offer, in which to have the inspection done, especially in peak sales periods.

Who schedules and co-ordinates the inspection?
The Inspector co-ordinates the inspection appointment through the Realtor, once the Buyer gives the go-ahead, as a general rule.

What about "walk-throughs"?
In general, "walk-throughs" (walk through inspections) should be avoided because they provide too little protection for such a major investment and findings are verbal not in writing and can easily be forgotten or misinterpreted.

How much do inspections cost?
"How much could not having an inspection done end up costing you?" is a better question. Just like insurance " you don't need it till you need it." On average, our Comprehensive Pre-purchase Inspections typically range from $400 to $600 exclusive of hst (taxes). Given the value of the information in the report and the money the report can save a Buyer, our reports pay for themselves many times over. Remember, it's not the inspector's fee that protects you, it's the inspector's qualifications, experience and thoroughness that count. Scrimping on the inspector is ill-advised when a Buyer trying to protect such a major investment.

How should you choose an Inspector?

  • Avoid referrals from anyone with a financial interest in the transaction
  • Consult the yellow pages under building inspection services. 
  • Ask friends, relatives, neighbours and co-workers for referrals. 
  • Talk to each inspector yourself, about their training, qualifications, credentials and the years of experience they have in the inspection business. 
  • Ask how long their on-site inspection time is and what is included in the inspection report. 
  • Ask about guarantees, bonding and liability insurance. 
  • Don't base your choice on price. Scrimping on an inspector is foolish when you're trying to protect such a major amount of money. Price should be your least consideration. It's not the price difference but the difference in qalifications and experience that provides protection for the Buyer's investment. Prices vary very little.
Should you ask your Realtor or Agent for referrals to Inspectors?
Agents and Realtors should not be used as a primary source of referrals to Inspectors. Why? There is a conflict of interest when a Realtor or Agent refers a Buyer to Inspectors because Realtors normally earn their commissions based on completed sales i.e. Realtors earn their livelihood directly or indirectly by fulfilling the Vendor's desire / need to sell.
BEWARE OF BEING SHORT-LISTED
Agents / Realtors typically say they are not allowed to direct Buyers to specific Inspectors but may provide Buyers with 3 or 4 names from which to choose an Inspector. This is known as 'short-listing' and effectively allows Agents / Realtors to eliminate certain Inspectors and control which Inspectors the Buyers contact / use, i.e it gives the Agents / Realtors control of the Buyer's protection. AND if the inspection fails to divulge a major issue(s), the Realtor / Agent can simply say "The Buyer chose the Inspector."