page contents
USA Real Estate Blog

Buyer beware: Why you must get a home inspection

0 2


Buyer-beware-Why-you-must-get-a-home-inspection.jpg”/>


Home inspection is an important step when considering a potential purchase.


Getty Images

Home inspections have never gone out of style, but they have lost some of their appeal in the frenzied real estate market of Greater Vancouver in the past few years.

Since about 2015, the number of inspections has dropped dramatically — the first casualty of high-pressure offers of sale on properties when days, and even hours, used to count in whether a sale was completed. The number of inspections is increasing due to the cooling market, but it’s a shortsighted move not to undertake a professional home inspection, says Helene Barton, executive director of the Home Inspectors Association of BC (HIABC). And changing mandates for home inspectors are affecting the industry, which affects you, too.

“We get calls from people when something goes wrong, and there’s nothing we can do,” she says of those who haven’t had professional inspections.

Jonathan Sheppard, HIABC vice-president of James Dobney Inspections agrees.

“I do believe that 98 per cent of the transactions should have an inspection — both new and old builds included because what we find would floor you.”

But for many homeowners, it’s just as easy not to have an inspection.

“If you throw in the do-it-yourself renovations, along with multiples owners, the homes are filled with unprofessional wiring, plumbing, carpentry, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors missing or out of date, decks that are improperly constructed, missing footings, and poorly constructed hand railings with the decks carrying excess weight loads from non-permitted solariums,” he says.

Some real gems Sheppard cites include crawlspaces with water ingress, foundations with cracks due to settlement and Douglas fir trees planted within two feet of a building.

“We get calls from people when something goes wrong, and there’s nothing we can do.”

“The biggest advantage of a home inspection is that we educate the client about the building that is being purchased,” he says.  

But to complicate matters, there is no longer a need for inspectors to belong to a professional organization in B.C. In 2016 Consumer Protection BC introduced a new regulation that lowered the requirements necessary to become a home inspector, and reduced the qualifications of trainers for inspectors. Barton points out that if an inspector isn’t a member of the HIABC, the consumer has no recourse and may, in fact, not be getting proper advice and recommendations.

Sheppard says HIABC inspectors have the highest standards, have mandatory field training and must pass an exam, plus continue ongoing education.

“The non-aligned inspectors have none of this ongoing commitment,” Sheppard says.

It’s an ongoing battle of sorts, Barton says. So why were the requirements lowered?

“I have absolutely no idea,” Barton said. “Anything with government is slow, but at least they are working with us.” The HIABC continues to enforce high standards, training and educational requirements as it works with the Minister of Public Safety and the Solicitor-General on this.

On top of this, home inspector renewal licensing fees increased by about 25 per cent each year for three years, with ensuing increases in 2019 to 2020, by which the fees will almost double from $525 to $1,025.

What it means is that the additional costs will be passed on to the consumer, and such fees may well dissuade people from entering the profession.

Home inspectors are underpaid,” says Barton, who adds that the regulations, coupled with fewer inspections being performed, hits inspectors hard.

The best advice Barton can give, she says, is to check the HIABC website and go to the Find an Inspector tab to search for qualified inspectors in your area. Interview two or three, she suggests, before choosing one.

And don’t rely on your realtor to provide you with a name, or a recommendation whether to undertake an inspection.

“Experienced realtors control the sale. Often a home inspection rests in their court with a recommendation either way,” says Sheppard.

So what’s the advice for homeowners in this situation?

“Realtors should be giving out a minimum of three names of inspectors,” Barton says. “Realtors should be at arm’s length from inspectors. Make sure everybody is doing their job.”

Related

You might also like

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this post with your friends!