Buying a house is one of life’s big moments. Dream and reality, hopes and fears, risk and reason all collide in the face of this investment. As a specialist in residential inspection, I will put to work my knowledge, qualifications and experience to bring you, in all confidence and clarity, to the best possible transaction.
I work on the basis that every house has its problems and every problem has its solutions. If this is the house you want I want it to work for you.
Objective: Why do a pre-purchase inspection ?
All home buyers are required by the civil code of Québec (articles1726 & 1739) to be “diligent and prudent”, which has come to mean that you, the buyer, are legally responsible for all defects visible at the time of purchase. The goal of this inspection is to assist you in adequately meeting this legal responsibility. In practical terms the inspector, based on all visible signs, examines and renders an account of the condition of all the house systems, and their components. He may recommend further investigation when necessary.
An inspection allows you to have a clear and precise understanding of the property you hope to acquire especially with regards to all major visible defects that could influence your decision to purchase, the price paid or the usage of the building. It will help you understand the importance and consequences of the defaults found as well as the scale of the budget required to correct them.
The inspection report is an important document that puts you in a position of strength during negotiations of the final price. It will also serve as a basis for planning future repairs, maintenance or improvements of your new home. And finally, it becomes an indispensable tool in the unfortunate necessity of litigation.
What to expect the day of your inspection ?
An inspection takes from 2 to 4 hours at the property, depending on the size, the complexity, the condition and the age of the building being inspected. We do the inspection together (except for dangerous or really dirty bits!).
Typically we start by considering the surrounding environment and then we inspect the exterior of the building including the roof inspection which I usually do on my own. We then move inside and go from bottom to top; basement or crawl space, each room on each floor and finally the attic. We photograph and inspect all the components, and operate all the mechanical systems (see list in the side bar).
As we move through the inspection I will explain everything I see and the impact I believe it will have on the home. We will finish up with a verbal summary of the problems detected and any steps you need to take before finalising your offer. By the time you leave you will understand well the building you are considering.
Sometimes the real estate agent and/or the seller are also present and they too can be valuable sources of information on the history of the building, municipal regulations, right of ways, property lines, flood zones etc.
Please note: The different opinions, ideas and vested interests of the various people present at an inspection can be at times be troubling for the buyer. In this case it is all the more important to remember that I am working for you and, in accordance with my professional code of ethics, for the protection of your interests only.
What about the report ?
The final report is usually about 20 pages and includes an account of the observations made during the inspection, an identification of the defects found, an analysis of how they interact and what that tells us about the health of your future home. Recommendations are given for each problem detected and items of particular importance are supported by photographs. A summary at the beginning gives you a quick reference to the major problems and recommendations found in the report.
The report is written individually for you and the house we inspected together; it is not the work of a software program. The diagnostic work done requires reflection, often research or sometimes calls to an associate or an expert. I take the time to do a complete second inspection of the house using the photos I have taken (300 to 600 per inspection).
You will receive your full report by e-mail a maximum of 3 days after the inspection. Paper copies are available for a fee.
What does an inspection cost ?
The base fee for a pre-purchase inspection is $500.00 (no taxes are added to this price). The costs can increase depending on the size, or age of the building, the presence of an apartment, garage or outbuilding, and other exceptional circomstances. Payment is made immediately after the inspection by cheque, e-transfer or cash.
Contact me and we will determine a detailed submission and finale price. firstname.lastname@example.org
Reduction to young families : discount of $20.00 per child less than 8 years of age.
A small note: While it is by no means the purpose, it is rare that the cost of an inspection is not recuperated during negotiation of the final purchase agreement.
What do we inspect ?
The inspector, based on the visible evidence, renders an account of the condition of all the buildings systems and their components. In the case of any doubt a more thorough investigation will be recommended.
- fondation, slab;
- floors, walls;
- siding, flashings and sealants;
- doors and windows, soffit and fascia;
- building access and drainage.
- Surface condition;
- flashing, sealants, drainage.
- Supply and distribution;
- hot water supply;
- evacuation, drains and vents;
- fixtures, valves and taps;
- bathrooms, laundry room, kitchen;
- Supply, main panel, wiring;
- switches, lights and plugs, heaters;
- low voltage.
- Energy source, heat generator.
- distribution and controls.
Air conditioning :
- Refrigerant and generator;
- distribution and controls.
Mechanical ventilation :
- Central HRV, distribution and controls;
- ceiling fans, kitchen hood, dryer;
Insulation and ventilation :
- Foundations and/ or crawl space;
- floors, walls, and attic.
- Floors, walls, ceilings;
- doors and stairs;
- cupboards and counters;
Personal safety :
- Emergency exits;
- toxic gases;
Building envelop integrity :
The basic limitation of a Pre-purchase inspection is that we cannot do anything that damages, or might damage the property, the house, or its contents. That means our inspection uses only the evidence, the signs, we can see, smell, or hear to report or deduce the state of affairs.
Our observations are limited to the date on which the inspection took place. (An earthquake the next day could change the condition of the building!)
We cannot give you advice on the value of the property.
The inspection does not include any element that exposes me (or you) to any unnecessary danger or health risk.
A detailed explanation of the inclusions and limitations of this inspection can be found in the Norms of Practice at www.anieb.com and will be forwarded to you with your contract.
Notes, articles and references
What About “Hidden defects” ?
No pre-purchase inspector can discover hidden defects (“vices cachés”). We often enough discover problems that are invisible by using visible indications but these are not what the law means by “vices-cachés” (hidden defects). The legal definition refers to defects which are not apparent, hence cannot be detected visually nor be deduced from visual indications, so anything any inspector finds is by definition not a vice cache. (see Québec civil code articles 1726 and 1733).
Example of PRE-PURCHASE inspection points
We note corrosion on the bathtub drain, mineral deposits on the shower head and staining on the taps that taken together suggest a possible problem with water quality. Besides the aesthetic impact, this could also affect the life span of the components of the potable water system.
We recommend a water analysis in order to determine the pertinence of installing a treatment system.
We observe that the electric line passes over the edge of the metal roof at an unsafe distance (approx. 8 inches).
Note that this line is the responsibility of the owner and can be very expensive to replace.
We recommend consulting an electrician and/or hydro Québec to verify the safety of this installation and to provide an estimate for any corrections needed before settling the terms of sale.
The metal insulated chimney is in good condition and shows no signs of over-heating. We note however, that the attic insulation is in direct contact with the chimney which could cause over-heating in this section, creating the possibility of fire.
The situation is easily corrected and we recommend verification and cleaning of the chimney before putting it into service.
We observe that the drier outlet is poorly sealed at the outside wall. We notice also that there is lint behind the flashing of the outlet indicating that the conduit is also badly attached to the outlet. This defect allows warm moist air to escape behind the siding, a situation that can lead to a premature degradation of the wall components. An important problem with a simple inexpensive solution.
We recommend verifying the installation of the dryer outlet and to assure its air-tightness.