What to Expect During Your First Home Inspection

Purchasing a home can be an exhilarating experience, but it's essential to take the necessary steps to ensure you're making a sound investment. With a comprehensive guide to understanding the home inspection process and its implications for both mortgages and home insurance.
What to expect during your first home inspection

What is a Home Inspection?

A home inspection is a thorough examination of a property by a qualified professional, aiming to uncover any potential issues or repairs needed. This ensures buyers are well-informed before making a final decision.

How to Prepare for a Home Inspection

As you inch closer to sealing the deal on your dream home, the home inspection phase looms large. Proper preparation can make the process smooth, ensuring no stone is left unturned (quite literally).

Choose the Right Home Inspector

Choosing the right home inspector is as crucial as the inspection itself. Their expertise determines the thoroughness and accuracy of the inspection report, which, in turn, affects your decisions and negotiations.

  1. Qualifications: If you are based in BC, Alberta or Ontario, make sure the inspector is certified by a recognized professional organization. Certifications are a testament to their training and adherence to industry standards.
  2. Experience: An experienced inspector is more likely to identify issues that a novice might overlook. Ask potential inspectors about their experience, especially with homes similar to yours.
  3. Recommendations: Referrals from friends, family, or your realtor can be invaluable. They provide firsthand accounts of the inspector's thoroughness and professionalism.
  4. Sample Reports: Before finalizing, ask for a sample report. A detailed report with photos, clear descriptions, and recommendations is a good sign.
  5. Reviews and Ratings: Check online reviews and ratings. Platforms like Google, Yelp, or dedicated real estate forums can provide insights into other customers' experiences.

You might need property details, previous inspection reports, and any disclosures from the seller. Be sure to check with your inspector beforehand.

How Can a Home Inspection Impact Your Mortgage Approval?

Even if a home inspection is usually optional, it is more than just a formality; the timing of your home inspection could have an impact on the mortgage approval process:

Home inspection after financing is approved: During a home inspection, issues may be identified that will result in a price reduction. Depending on what options the buyer takes, a newly revised purchase term may be required to be submitted to the lender. The lender, in turn, may submit a new revised mortgage commitment.

A home inspection before the financing application is sent to the lender: If issues arise during the home inspection that results in a price reduction, the initial offer will be revised. The new purchase price will be submitted to the lender and the lender will establish the terms of financing based on full knowledge of the property’s condition.

In essence, a home inspection offers clarity on the property's status, benefiting both buyers and lenders. It’s a proactive step that can thwart future complications.

What Gets Checked During a Home Inspection?

A home inspection serves as a meticulous examination of a property, ensuring potential homeowners understand its condition. While every inspection varies based on the property type and location, here are some universally inspected components:

Foundation and Structure: Inspectors assess the structural integrity of the home, checking for signs of sagging, cracks, or shifts in the foundation.

Roofing: This includes examining shingles, flashing, and any signs of leaks or water damage.

Electrical Systems: Inspectors verify the condition and safety of wiring, outlets, and circuit breakers.

Plumbing: This involves checking pipes, drains, and faucets for leaks, proper water pressure, and potential issues.

Heating and Cooling Systems: Inspectors evaluate the efficiency and condition of furnaces, air conditioners, and other HVAC components.

What to expect during your first home inspection extra

Potential Red Flags to Watch Out For

While a home might appear perfect at first glance, an inspection can unearth potential deal-breakers. Here are some red flags to be wary of:

Mold or Water Damage: Water Damage not only poses health risks but can also hint at deeper structural problems.

Outdated Electrical Systems: Old or faulty wiring can be a fire hazard and might require expensive upgrades.

Poor Drainage: Signs like water pooling can indicate compromised foundations or other costly issues.

Old Roof: A roof nearing its life's end can lead to expensive replacements or repairs in the near future.

Being alert to these red flags could save potential homeowners from unexpected costs and headaches. Ensure you're well-informed to make the best home-buying decisions.

How to Interpret the Results?

Interpreting home inspection results might initially seem daunting, but it's essential for informed decision-making. Firstly, understand the difference between minor repairs and significant issues. Cosmetic problems, like worn finishes, are often easy fixes. However, issues such as foundation cracks or mold might entail more extensive solutions. Consider prioritizing safety-related concerns, including outdated electrical systems or faulty HVAC. Lastly, you could leverage the report to negotiate repairs or adjust the property's price.

How Does a Home Inspection Affect Home Insurance?

Reducing your exposure to damages

A thorough home inspection can result in taking proactive steps to ensure your home’s safety and reduce your exposure to losses and damages. A home inspection could help uncover issues like a leaking roof, an outdated plumbing or electrical system and helping you take the necessary actions to mitigate risks and avoid headaches in the future. It could help you stay claims-free and could lead to potential savings on home insurance in the long run.

What Home Inspection Factors Can Increase Your Home Insurance?

While a positive inspection could lead to savings, certain factors uncovered during the process could increase your insurance costs. Discovering outdated electrical systems, old roofs prone to leaks, or a lack of safety features, like smoke alarms, could potentially increase your premiums. Additionally, properties in areas without adequate fire protection or those with a history of water damage might be viewed as higher risks.

Always ensure you address and remedy these concerns post-inspection.

*Article written by Pine Canada Financial Corporation. For informational purposes only. This article is not a recommendation, advice or guarantee by Intact Insurance