Don't Skip this Step!

(June 03, 2016)

If you’re thinking of buying a home in Grand Forks or anywhere in British Columbia, you’re probably aware that you should get a qualified home inspector to examine it. In fact, almost every offer I write on behalf of a client will include a condition that the property be inspected before the subjects are removed.

The quality of Home Inspectors vary as with any service, but a good inspector will go over the property from top to bottom, inside and out. He/she will examine certain components of the home you want to purchase and then provide a report covering his or her findings. The typical inspection lasts two to three hours and if at all possible, you should be present for the inspection to get a firsthand explanation of the inspector's findings. Being present will help you understand any problems that the inspector uncovers compared to relying solely on the photos in the report.

A really great inspector will even tell you about routine maintenance that should be performed, which can be a great help if you are a first-time homebuyer. 

Overall, a home inspector helps you understand the condition of the home you are purchasing and the related expenses you should expect saving you future headaches.The following list will give you a general idea of what to expect from a home inspection. 

Exterior

Roof - The inspector will check for areas where roof damage or poor installation could allow water to enter the home, such as loose, missing or improperly secured shingles and cracked or damaged vents. He or she will also check the condition of the gutters.

Exterior walls - The inspector will check for damaged or missing siding, cracks and whether the soil is in excessively close contact with the bottom of the house, which can invite wood-destroying insects. However, a pest inspector, not the home inspector, will check for actual damage from these insects. The inspector will let you know which problems are cosmetic and which could be more serious.

Foundation - If the foundation is not visible, and it usually is not, the inspector will not be able to examine it directly, but they can check for secondary evidence of foundation issues, like cracks or settling.

Grading - The inspector will let you know whether the grading slopes away from the house as it should. If it doesn't, water could get into the house and cause damage, and you will need to either change the slope of the yard or install a drainage system.

Interior

Plumbing - The home inspector will check all faucets and showers, look for visible leaks, such as under sinks and test the water pressure. He or she will also identify the kind of pipes the house has, if any pipes are visible. The inspector may recommend a secondary inspection if the pipes are old to determine if or when they might need to be replaced and how much the work would cost. The inspector will also identify the location of the home's main water shutoff valve.

Electrical - The inspector will identify the kind of wiring the home has, test all the outlets and make sure there are functional ground fault circuit interrupters installed in areas like the bathrooms, kitchen, garage and outdoors. They will also check your electrical panel for any safety issues and check your electrical outlets to make sure they do not present a fire hazard.

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) - The inspector will look at whatever HVAC system is used in the home. He/she will estimate the age of the furnace and/or air conditioner, determine if they function properly and recommend repairs or maintenance. An inspector can also give you an idea of the age of the home's ducting, whether it might have leaks, if your home has sufficient insulation to minimize your energy bills and whether there is any asbestos insulation.

Water heater - The home inspector will identify the age of the heater and determine if it is properly installed and secured. The inspector will also let you know what kind of condition it is in and give you a general idea of how many years it has left.

Kitchen appliances – The inspector will sometimes check kitchen appliances that come with the home to make sure they work, but these are not always part of the inspection. It is a good idea to ask the inspector which appliances are not included so that you can check them yourself.

Laundry room - The inspector will make sure the laundry room is properly vented. A poorly maintained dryer-exhaust system can be a serious fire hazard.

Fire safety - If the home has an attached garage, the inspector will make sure the wall has the proper fire rating and that it hasn't been damaged in any way that would compromise its fire rating. They will also test the home's smoke detectors.

Bathrooms - The inspector will check for visible leaks, properly secured toilets, adequate ventilation and other issues. If the bathroom does not have a window and/or a ventilation fan, mold and mildew can become problems and moisture can warp wood cabinets over time.


A home inspection will cost you a little bit of time and money now, but in the long run it is well worth it. The inspection can reveal problems that you may be able to get the current owners to fix before you move in or renegotiate a lower price a handle the repairs yourself. If you are a first-time homebuyer, an inspection can give you a crash course in home maintenance and a checklist of items that need attention to make your home as safe and sound as possible. Don't skip this important step to help guide you through a smooth home buying process!