You’ve been looking for months, you’ve found the home of your dreams, you’ve made an offer, and now you’re finally ready to take possession of the house that will be yours for years to come – your future home and your family’s nest. But before signing the contract for this detached house for sale, take a moment to make sure that everything necessary has been inspected.
Choose an Inspector
After your promise to purchase has been accepted, you have seven to ten days to have the house inspected. This step isn’t mandatory, but it’s recommended to ensure that no defect has been overlooked. The inspector, who must be a member of a professional order and hold valid professional liability insurance, will go through the house for one to two hours to perform a visual (and not technical) inspection of the house. Following their report, the future buyers will have the elements to potentially renegotiate the sales contract, or even withdraw their promise to purchase.
1. Inspect the Roof and the Exterior of the House
To reveal any defects but also simply to familiarize yourself with your roof, you should ask to look it over before signing the purchase of your house. You should check the condition of the materials and the insulation to verify if water has seeped in or if cracks or signs of deterioration are visible. You should also take a look at all the components, such as the gutters and the attic.
You should do the same thing for the façade of the house. Whether it’s brick, vinyl, or wood, the exterior cladding will need to be observed and evaluated to verify its condition. The doors and windows are also an important element to validate, especially in terms of the insulation, which could potentially be the source of heat and water loss that could prove costly.
2. Check the Electrical System
Beyond being able to simply locate your electrical panel, it will be important to validate whether the panel meets the applicable standards. If it’s old, it may need to be replaced with something newer. You should also check the condition of the switches, the sockets and the lighting system, the circuit breakers, and the outlets prone to moisture.
3. Check the Plumbing
It will be just as important to find out about the plumbing in your home and to check its condition (the faucets, the water heater, and the pipes). You should also test the water pressure in the house by using several faucets at once while flushing the toilet, to avoid any unpleasant surprises when you take possession of the place.
4. Examine the Ventilation
It will also be important to verify the condition of the air ducts, including the exchanger and the air discharge, but also the humidity level in the house. Indeed, a very humid interior or basement will lead to additional expenses to be able to address it in order to live there comfortably. If an air conditioning system is in place, you should also inspect the device.
5. The Interior and Other Elements
After going around the house, you should focus on its interior, paying attention to any traces of mould, the load-bearing and separating walls, the staircases and each step, the balconies and entrances, as well as the security and alarm systems (smoke, carbon monoxide, locks, etc.).
Ultimately, the inspection stage can be long and tedious, especially if the house is old, but it helps protect the buyer while giving them some room for negotiation. As with any major purchase, you should make sure you have all the information in hand before taking the leap, and you should be accompanied by a seasoned professional in this.