Home inspectors are often sought by buyers of existing homes. With the wear and tear of a property, purchasers want to make sure that the house is sound.
A home is a huge investment, and no one wants to deal with problems after moving in.
The services of a home inspector are also valuable for buyers of new developments. Let’s take the case of a newly built condo that was purchased on the presale market.
Before completion date, which is the day ownership is transferred to the buyer, the developer’s representative takes the purchaser to what is known as a deficiency walk-through. The developer’s agent shows the condo, and defects seen are usually marked for fixing.
It’s a good idea to bring along a home inspector at such walk-throughs, according to Vancouver realtor David Hutchinson.
Hutchinson noted that it’s quite easy for anyone to see a little scratch on the wall or countertop. However, a qualified home inspector can spot potential major issues that a buyer may miss.
“When you’re actually living there, when all the water is running—the washing machine, the dishwasher, and the taps and showers—that’s when things start to appear,” Hutchinson told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview.
With a home inspection, Hutchinson said, those issues can be immediately addressed rather than later.
Darren Larter is one of the home inspectors that Hutchinson usually recommends to clients.
As someone who has owned a number of properties, Larter has a lot of experience with homes.
“I’m a very curious person by nature, and I like to understand how things work,” Larter told the Straight by phone.
Several years before he became a home inspector, Larter purchased his first property in a new condo development in Vancouver in 1995, and it turned out to be a leaky building.
“I didn’t even know about home inspectors. I didn’t have a real-estate agent, either,” he recalled.
Larter related that he went to look at the development and a sales representative for the condo project was there at the time.
Larter owned the condo unit for 12 years, until everything was fixed. He still had it when he purchased a second property, and this time he had a home inspector.
Larter’s work starts before he does the actual inspection. He reviews the strata corporation’s depreciation report, which lays out the condition of the building and what needs to be repaired or maintained.
If the report says the roof needs to be replaced and Larter sees that it has been done, that’s a good sign that the strata council is proactive.
“Generally, I recommend avoiding those types of buildings that have lazy stratas or stratas that are delayed in fixing things, because usually that just means that the problems are going to get worse and cause more damage and cost more money to repair later,” Larter said.
Inside existing condo units, typical issues observed by Larter are leaks under the kitchen or bathroom sink and old appliances that don’t work properly.
Larter also keeps an eye out for “shoddy do-it-yourself renovations”, like electrical and plumbing fixes. “Those types of things are quite common and often can lead to other issues,” he said.
Although home inspections are typically associated with buyers, Vancouver realtor Hutchinson said that sellers, too, can benefit from the services of an inspector.
“He will prepare the seller for what the buyer’s home inspector is going to bring up,” Hutchinson explained. “So the seller now has the chance to fix or repair those issues before it becomes an issue for the buyer.”
According to Hutchinson, a presale home inspection shows goodwill on the part of the seller, and nothing is stopping the buyer from having another inspection.
“There will be a binder of a home inspector sitting on the table, and so the buyer comes through and goes, ‘Wow, there’s already an inspection,’ ” Hutchinson said. “So it gives peace of mind and they feel more comfortable purchasing the home, and it could reflect in a better price.”