The Ontario government is set to forward legislation in the fall calling for regulation of home inspections; it’s long overdue.
Home inspectors often play a fundamental role in residential real estate transactions (65% of all deals in Ontario according to the Toronto Star). Buyers rely on inspectors to provide an accurate account of the mechanical and structural condition of the home they’re considering buying. The home inspection report allows a Buyer and their agent to itemize the overall valuation of the home. Home inspections may lead to a better deal for the Buyer, and sometimes issues are uncovered that cause a deal to fall apart entirely.
There are too many stories within the real estate industry of consumers who are misled by inaccurate home inspection reports. Sometimes, it’s a homeowner who may have uncovered issues that were not disclosed during an inspection when they purchased the home. The homeowner may then feel justified in attempting to hide that same issue when they want to sell the home (not advisable or legal). Buyers may uncover thousands of dollars in unexpected and undiagnosed repairs when they take possession of a home. Unfortunately, home inspection reports often have clauses, signed off on by the Buyer, relieving an inspector from all liability.
Government and Consumer Services Minister Marie-France Lalonde has been quoted saying, “Home inspectors are one of the only professionals involved in a real estate transaction that are not currently provincially regulated.” It is critical a home inspector is licensed, trained and adequately insured. A regulating body will go a long way in protecting consumers. In the meantime, use an inspector that has online reviews, has certifiable training, and at the very least proper equipment (moisture meter, infrared camera, etc.) Furthermore, a qualified inspector will provide a detailed report on a prospective homes condition but will leave the valuation considerations to the professionals (your Realtor).
At Benjamins Realty, we always encourage our Buyers to consider a home inspection before they buy. However, in a very brisk market (Spring of 2016) listings often receive multiple offers, and the winning bid may not include an inspection condition. Buyers in this situation are forced to reckon the risk vs. reward on a competitive property under consideration.