I bought my first home in 2017 at the height of one of the hottest real estate markets Toronto has ever seen. My husband and I were fortunate enough to win our third bid on a Toronto-area house, but in the process we had to make a few tough calls. For instance, we had to decide whether or not we wanted a home inspection completed on the homes we bid on. In a housing market this hot, signing an offer ‘conditional on home inspection’ might just lose you the bid, and completing one before putting in an offer might mean a few hundred dollars down the drain if you ultimately don’t sign the offer.
Getting a home inspection used to be a given, but that was back when potential buyers had the luxury of time – to hire an inspector, complete an inspection and decide whether to bid. In today’s market, potential buyers must decide whether to get the inspection done prior to putting in an offer or to forego it altogether. This begs the question ‘When is it appropriate to have a home inspection done?
Below, we outline a few of the considerations you must make when deciding whether or not it’s still worth getting a home inspection.
Is a home inspection worth the dollars spent?
The short answer is yes. A home inspection is a complete examination of a house, with everything from electrical wiring to plumbing reviewed closely to help the buyer get a broad overview of the state of the home. The cost of a home inspection is typically within the range of $300-500. This can add up quickly if you bid on multiple homes, but considering a home will likely be your most expensive purchase, you definitely want to be informed.
What are the risks if you don’t get one?
There are a number of risks that come along with not getting a home inspection. The main thing to know is that not getting one might mean costly future repairs that could have been avoided had you known about issues prior to purchasing the home.
When is a home inspection not necessary?
Many sellers now include a home inspection as part of the house listing. This saves potential buyers from having to spend the time doing one on their own. Though this provides some peace of mind, it’s a good idea to delve deeper into the provided home inspection. This could mean having your agent do some research into the home inspector to ensure that he or she is reputable and has the necessary credentials. It could also mean having the inspector walk you through the inspection report (which can be done for a relatively small fee).
If there is no inspection attached to the listing and you don’t want to dish out the extra cash to complete one, do so at your own risk. At the very least, ask your agent for his or her impression of the home based on experience; with the caveat that it isn’t an expert opinion.
In our case, the home we ended up purchasing came with an inspection attached to the listing, so we did our research to ensure that the inspection company was reputable and went through the report in detail. When it comes to home inspections, more often than not it is wise to make the investment. The added stress to your wallet right now could mean significantly less stress in the future.