When you sell a home in British Columbia, the vast majority of Home Buyers will complete an inspection of your home once you have accepted their offer to purchase your home and you’ll find most Real Estate Agents will always recommend a home inspection. The Buyer typically has from 5 to 15 days in which to complete a home inspection; this time period will vary from one contract to another. The urgency of their inspection time period can often depend upon the type of Real Estate market that you are experiencing in your neighborhood.
If it’s a Seller’s Market you should see Buyers shortening up their time frame to complete an inspection, as part of making their offer seen, as being more attractive than a Buyer they may be competing with to buy your home; they want their offer to stand out showing you that they’re ready to get the inspection done quickly after the Real Estate purchase contract is executed. We all hear of cases where Buyers, particularly in parts of Vancouver and the lower mainland even decline having the home inspected to sweeten their offer when competing in a multiple offer scenario. However, the presentation of their offer is only as good, as their Real Estate Agent advising them. On the other hand, in a Buyer’s Market, where there’s a large inventory of homes on the market, the Buyers may choose to take more time to complete their inspection, as the competition isn't fierce and why rush so, don’t be surprised if they take the maximum time allowed on the contract.
Your Real Estate Agent will be advised of the requested inspection date and time by the Buyer’s Real Estate Agent. You would need to confirm to your Agent that this is an acceptable time for them to complete the inspection; you should plan to be accommodating in setting up the inspection time, as you don’t want to be seen as hampering the inspection process. Once the date has been set, the Buyer’s Agent, Buyer and their hired Home Inspector (who must be licensed in British Columbia) will visit your home and property to complete the inspection. In order to complete the inspection, electrical power and water must be turned on to your home which, could be a consideration if you’re not living in the home that you have for sale. It is recommended that you and your Agent be present at the Inspection yet, it’s not a requirement.
The inspection can easily take several hours to complete and will cost roughly between $350-$500 for an average 3 – 4 bedroom home. Typically you’ll have the Home Inspector arrive at the scheduled inspection time to complete their inspection. The inspection typically covers several areas within your home and property to include (detached and attached homes obviously have varying levels of inspection; HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning), Electrical wiring and panels, Structural, Plumbing connections and fixtures, Roof.
Let the inspection begin. You’ll find the inspector up on your roof and in your attic looking at assembly points, observing roof tiles/shingles and any water stains or corrosion that can indicate a roof leak or any roof problems, dry rot etc.
The Inspector may also begin by turning on your dishwasher or washing machine to let it run a cycle checking for its efficiency. Your electrical system, plumbing and A/C will be checked for efficiency throughout the entire home. If there are any deficiencies the Inspector will note them. A good quality inspector will be looking for abnormalities in each and every room of the home. From the Kitchen’s appliances, cabinets, plumbing, fixtures, lighting, windows, doors, electrical outlets and the like, as the same to be inspected in the Bathrooms and almost every inch of the home in every room from floor to ceiling. Improper electrical wiring, old knob and tube wiring, a potential safety issue, if present, will be found and likely protect any Buyer from a potential home fire. Any plumbing problems or obvious lack of overall maintenance of the home will also be noted. Once the Inspector is done inside, the next room is the home’s great outdoors. Expect the Inspector to take a closer look at the home’s pool, spa, screened in patio area or sprinkler system. Of course, for our discussion here it’s not possible to list every item in detail yet, know that every detail should be inspected, as no stone should be left unturned.
At the conclusion of the inspection, the Inspector will then go over his findings with the Buyer from all the minor items to any recommended repairs. You can always expect minor items or deficiencies that are likely an easy fix. He or she will then record all of the detailed findings into an official Inspection report to be forwarded to Buyer. After a review of the report, the Buyer may either accept the recommended needed repairs or the Buyer may request that you, as the Seller, contribute to completing any of the repairs. This can be in the way of actually making the repairs or offering the Buyer a credit to complete needed repairs. The way in which the inspections are resolved will depend upon the terms of your contract. Typically, an AS IS contract means that the Buyer is buying your home in its current condition (AS IS) yet, can and likely will still ask for Seller assistance, if needed repairs are noted. If it is not an AS IS purchase contract then you as the Seller can expect the Buyer to negotiate terms to take care of any resulting inspection concerns. The inspection time period, as discussed above, allows the Buyer to decide within the contract stated inspection time period, whether or not they want to complete the home purchase now that they know the condition of the home. The risks are greatest for the Buyer to cancel their purchase interest, in the event that major repairs are needed. Knowing this, if you are aware of any major issues, it is best to reveal them up front and on your completed Sellers Property Disclosure that is provided to the Buyer prior to execution of a Real Estate contract. Why waste your time on a Buyer who will not consider purchasing a home that needs any major repairs items as say that of what a new roof would require.
Now that you know the basics of what to expect from a Home Inspection, do not ever pretend to try to hide a home’s defect, as it will likely be uncovered during the inspection and had you not disclosed it on the Seller’s Property Disclosure, you can risk the Buyer to cancel their interest in continuing with the purchase of your home. This could also be a huge area of concern for you should the home’s defect not be revealed during the home inspection but sometime later after the Buyers have already taken possession of your home and the defect is revealed yet, it has come as a total surprise to them as they had no idea. This is setting you up for a law suit. So when you think you don’t have to tell the Buyer about that structural problem that you had repaired where the north side of your home was sinking and you had to have stabilizer bars inserted under the home to reinforce the home and raise it up but, because it’s since now repaired and hidden underneath your home and the landscaping surrounding the home covers it up so why bother telling the new Buyer; don’t consider that route for a minute. Reveal what you know, it’s the right thing to do. Think of it as Home Owner - Confession Time or as we like to call it The Truth About Real Estate.