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It is easy to get distracted when you are searching for a new home, but it is important to know what you are getting into. The property could look perfect on the outside but underneath there may be costly problems lurking. It is strongly recommended that home buyers get a home inspection before they buy. 

Home inspector’s job

Home inspectors are hired to examine the property inside and out. They are looking for problems or issues that could become major problems. Inspectors will prepare a report that indicates what they found and any repairs or work that needs to be done. 

What does the inspection involve?

The prime objective of a home inspector is to locate anything that looks unsafe or needs to be repaired. These can include:

  • Plumbing and electrical systems
  • Insulation and ventilation
  • Water damage
  • Cracks in the foundation or roof
  • Structural integrity of the home

When to do a home inspection

The ideal (and often only) time to do a home inspection is after you have made an offer to purchase the home but before you have signed off on the sale. It is higly recommended to add a condition to the offer that a home inspection will be done. 

Should you go to the home inspection?

You don’t have to be there during the home inspection, but it is a good idea if you are. It  gives you the opportunity to learn more about the home over the few hours of an inspection. You can also ask the inspector questions during the process, which gives you a better understanding of the report.

Cost of home inspection

It is usually up to the buyer to pay for the home inspection. Depending on the size, location and age of the property you can expect to pay about $500.

What if the home is new?

Home inspections are recommended even in new homes. Any building can have problems and you should know about them before you buy. Some problems that new properties can have include electrical outlets malfunctioning, hot and cold water lines or crooked walls. 

Home inspection on condos?

If you buy a condo, the condo/strata board maintains the common areas. It is up to you to have the unit inspected at your cost if you wish. The seller should provide you with a full package of condo documents including the budget, financial statements, meeting minutes, and long-term maintenance and repair spending plans.

Finding a home inspector

You can always ask your real estate agent for a home inspection recommendation. Alternatively, you can ask family and friends for their input. 

Inspector certification

Most provinces do not require home inspectors to be certified. British Columbia and Alberta do require certification.

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