I've Had My Inspection, Now What?

Pen Contract Solid State Home Inspections

A great home inspection is made up of three components; a snapshot of the building materials and systems in your home, a list of 'deficiencies' from correct or safe building practices, and an education on your homes major systems. The list of 'deficiencies' is often the most concerning to home buyers after a home inspection as this is what may break a sale or could involve unexpected expenses during the purchase process. So what should home buyers do after they get the home inspection report?

Get All The Information

Everything about a home can be fixed except for its location and no home is perfect under the lens of a home inspection. Most home 'deficiencies' are related to changes made by amateurs after the home was built, neglected maintenance items, or aging systems needing replacement soon.

Read the home inspection report and all the written comments from your home inspector to get the most information from the report. Your home inspector and your home inspection report should be able to tell you what your next step is for each deficiency and the degree of urgency a defect has. Some 'deficiencies' are inexpensive to repair but urgent to repair as they may present a life safety hazard (e.g. exposed live wires). Other 'deficiencies' are not immediate life safety hazards but may require budgeting for the repair such as replacing an old hot water tank that is still fully functional at the time of the inspection.

Home sellers are also a great source of information on the home. For example, if the Home Inspector notices signs of a past oil heating system, the home seller should be able to identify if an oil tank has been removed from the site. Home sellers also should keep copies of warranties and guarantees on work done on the home. If the home inspection identifies an installation defect on a new furnace, this may be repairable under the original warranty.

Talk To Your Realtor

You should have an excellent working relationship with your Realtor if you are going to have a successful real estate transaction. Experienced Realtors have dealt with many of the common home deficiencies found in home inspections in the past and they can offer solutions to you like:

  • Arrange for the seller/builder to fix a deficiency before possession changes
  • Helping you find a contractor or handy person who can fix the deficiency
  • Arrange for more time before removing purchase subjects to investigate the problem(s)
  • Re-negotiating the purchase price of a home
  • Negotiating a Hold-Back in case of premature system failure or future Strata assessments
  • Help You Decide when to remove inspection subjects

Your Realtor can also help give you guidance if the home deficiencies are beyond normal and reasonable repair and perhaps you should consider walking away from the home and looking for another one. Ultimately this decision is up to the client but your Realtor can help you understand what your options are.

Who Should Fix the Deficiencies?

Many home sellers are quick to suggest they will fix a deficiency rather than take a hold-back,  lower the purchase price, or lose the sale. While this method may solve the problem, the buyer does not have any control over who is fixing the problem and the materials used. As many 'deficiencies' in a home inspection come from amateur work, the last thing you want is for another amateur to 'fix' the problem. It is also important that all work is performed by licensed trades people and that any permits that may be needed are in place.

On existing homes, Home Inspectors typically recommend that the home buyer has the correct people come in to fix any deficiencies after the home transaction is complete. This allows the future occupant of the home to know that the repairs are done right and will be safe and solid for years to come. If the home is newly built, the builder and their trades people should correct any deficiencies before the transaction is completed.

Professional Home Inspectors operate under standards of ethics which prevent them from quoting on, performing any repair work, or collecting referral fees for recommending any contractors. This is to protect home inspection clients who have a lot at stake based on the recommendations of a home inspection report. If your home inspector offers to do repairs or have a family member do repairs for a fee, you should throw away the entire inspection as suspect and bring in an independent professional home inspector for a new inspection.

Call in the Experts

All repairs should always be performed by licensed professionals. For minor fixes, many professionals will perform repairs based on an hourly labour rate plus repair material which they typically will have in their service vehicle. Don't be surprised if there is a minimum charge for showing up. Your Realtor or the Better Business Bureau can help you find a trusted professional if you don't have any personal connections.

If the repair job is beyond a normal service call, it may be necessary to get a few quotes from professionals in your area. Contractor rates can vary by as much as 300% and the quality of labour and materials can vary greatly. (See our article here on hiring a great contractor)

Final Thoughts

As no home is perfect under the lens of a home inspection, clients will always have to make some decisions about 'deficiencies' found in a home inspection report and assume some of the risks and maintenance expenses with a home purchase. While in some extreme cases the deficiencies may be severe enough to walk away from a home purchase, most items are fixable for a very small percentage of the purchase price of the home or with just a little maintenance time from the new home buyer.

No matter if your home inspection finds minor or major deficiencies in your new home, your professional home inspector should be able to give you great advise on keeping your new home safe and solid.

By James Bell - Owner/Operator of Solid State Inspections Inc.