As you move through the home buying process, one item you will come across is a home inspection. Many people wonder if this is a necessary expense, and if it is worth it as the buyer. What happens if you decide to skip a home inspection? What are the risks and rewards of completing and passing on this service? Here are the important facts you should know about home inspections if you are a future home buyer.

Are home inspections mandatory?

A home inspection is not a requirement to buy a home in Ontario. You might remember that during the busiest real estate periods throughout the pandemic, buyers were often passing on home inspections. This was because the market moved so quickly that buyers felt they didn’t have time to wait on inspection results if they wanted sellers to accept their offers. As a result, lots of Canadians moved into houses with the hope that they wouldn’t encounter any issues. 

At the end of the day, the decision to get or skip a home inspection rests with the buyer. However, it is highly recommended that buyers complete an inspection. Although many buyers may feel like this is an extra cost they can avoid during the purchasing process, the potential costs of NOT getting an inspection can be much higher. 

What can an inspection uncover?

Home inspections uncover any issues with the property that might impact its safety, or the sale itself. An inspector will examine the home from top to bottom, including things such as the foundation and plumbing, roofing, electricity, and air conditioning and heating. They will ensure everything is in working order, and that nothing is malfunctioning, broken, or dangerous. For example, if the roof has a leak, or there is asbestos in the ceiling, these are things an inspector will uncover. As the buyer, you will want to know about these items before you complete the purchase! You should be aware of any potential safety concerns or damages in your potential future property. 

Keep in mind that an inspector is not the same as an appraiser. A home appraisal evaluates the property’s value as a whole, while an inspection examines specific functions within the home. The results of an inspection can influence a home’s value, but its main purpose is to inform the buyer of potential safety or functionality issues.

What are the benefits?

A home inspection has two major advantages for the buyer. First, of course, it uncovers any safety problems that could pose a danger to residents. Things like black mold, faulty electrical wiring, or a weak foundation can all cause serious damage if they aren’t discovered. Buyers have peace of mind knowing their new home is completely safe and up to date on any necessary repairs. Second, a home inspection can save the buyer a lot of money! If major problems are revealed, the buyer has two options. They can either negotiate with the seller to cover the costs of repairs before closing on the purchase, or they can walk away from the sale entirely. In both cases, the buyer is not held responsible for paying for any fixes. If the buyer wants to complete the purchase, they can try to arrange for the seller to cover some or all of the expenses.

What are the risks of passing on an inspection?

The dangers of skipping an inspection can be expensive, and even dangerous. For one, a buyer may end up purchasing a home that poses a risk to their health or safety. For example, a house that has black mold in the attic can cause long-term damage to a person’s body. If the residents are unaware of this issue, they are unable to protect themselves against it. Apart from the physical dangers are the financial ones. If a home buyer chooses not to get a home inspection, they are on the hook for any issues that arise after the completion of the sale. Imagine purchasing a home, and one month later discovering the entire roof needs to be replaced. You are responsible for covering those costs. While passing on an inspection can save you some money in the short-term, down the line it can cost you thousands of dollars or more.

We always recommend completing a home inspection when purchasing a new house. While it is not a requirement, and it comes with an upfront cost, it saves the buyer stress and money long-term. There are several options in terms of inspection companies you can use, and you can do some research before setting an inspection date. This process puts you one step closer to owning your dream home, with the confidence that you are buying a safe property.

If you have any questions about your mortgage, get in touch with me!