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Why you shouldn’t waive a home inspection

An inspector checks the windows on a house. Stock photo by Getty Images.

You have found the house of your dreams, but there is a bidding war on it. Oh no! What should you do?

You are ready to just waive the home inspection because you need to have this house. Besides, everything looks good to you, inside and out.

Now picture this: it’s six months down the line, you’ve been moved in for a few months, winter is coming, and you start to realize that the pipes in the house are faulty and have weakened the foundation of your home.

Now you want to sue the previous owner, but you chose to waive the home inspection. You can still try to sue, of course, but a lawyer will probably tell you it’s wasn’t a good idea to have waived that home inspection clause in the first place.

Buying a house without a home inspection is a real risk that could cost you down the line.

Home inspection clauses are usually part of the agreement of purchase and sale, a contract you must sign to buy or sell a house or condo.

Realtors and lawyers are well versed in home inspection clauses and you should go over the sales contract, with either your realtor or your lawyer, to make sure the home inspection clause is included and phrased properly. It’s important the home inspection clause be properly and strongly worded, so you are protected.

Often, within the clause, it will say something like “if you are not satisfied with the report of the home inspector you can choose to back out of the deal at your sole discretion.” You want to make sure the offer can be withdrawn should the inspection find problems with the house — be it the roof, wiring, foundation, plumbing, or anything else you might not notice.

Home inspections are not cheap, they usually cost a few hundred dollars. Always confirm with the home inspector how much he or she charges for a home inspection. However, ask yourself this: Can you afford to pay for minor or major repairs later on when defects in the house become apparent?

Also consider that home inspectors are there to make sure there are no defects in the house and if they do find any they will make you aware of them.

Home inspectors usually report on some of the conditions of:

  • the structural system;
  • the exterior;
  • the roof;
  • the plumbing;
  • the electrical system;
  • the heating system;
  • the air conditioning;
  • the interior;
  • the insulation and ventilation;
  • fireplaces and solid fuel burning appliances.

Always talk to your home inspector about what specifically they are responsible for in a home inspection. Also read the contract you have with your home inspector to determine what parts of the house they will inspect and give you a written report on. Certain things are not included and you need to be aware of that.

Home inspectors have associations, but they don’t have to be part of them. There is the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors, and their provincial equivalents with which home inspectors can chose to register and fulfill the requirements of membership.

Those associations set standards of practice to hold home inspectors to a standard. You want to make sure you use a registered home inspector, because it’s a largely unregulated industry.

In conclusion, it is important to remember that once you waive all conditions in an agreement of purchase and sale, it’s binding under the law and you can no longer back out of the deal. So, think carefully before you waive a home inspection condition. It could cost you a lot more later on.

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