Home Inspection Articles

Seller's Home Inspections: A Growing Trend in Real Estate

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Sep 24, 2013 2:40:00 PM

For SaleHome Inspections aren’t just for home buyers anymore. In the last several years we have witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of Home Inspections being conducted for home sellers. In 2011, 22% of all inspections performed at Carson Dunlop were Seller’s Home Inspections. In 2012, that number jumped to 27%. During busy months for real estate, like the spring and fall markets, anywhere from 20% to 40% of inspections completed are for sellers.

Having a Home Inspection completed when selling your home is not just a fad, it is becoming a more standard part of the real estate process. In fact, in The Globe and Mail’s column “Ask A Real Estate Expert”, Ricky Chada, Broker with Royal LePage, asserts, “Prudent listing brokers will get a home inspection done prior to listing a home…This is becoming a more common practice in today’s market…”*

With the fall market continuing to heat up, and July’s and August’s unprecedented sales numbers, we felt it may be helpful to look at the benefits of Seller's Home Inspections, as they are likely something most will encounter.

Seller’s Home Inspections are advantageous for both sellers and buyers. They help in many areas of the real estate process, including:

  • Multiple offer situations
  • Efficiency and timing
  • Liability

When a seller has an inspection performed prior to the sale of their home, it has the potential to eliminate the buyer’s need for an inspection. This is ideal in multiple offer scenarios as buyers want to feel comfortable with, and informed about, the home they are buying, but recognize that with heavy competition, having an inspection of their own isn’t always possible. Although some feel that a seller’s inspection report can be biased, there are simple ways to assuage that concern: have a walkthrough with the seller’s inspector and ensure the seller has worked with a reputable company.

Buyers being able to waive the Home Inspection clause means sales can move forward more quickly. While opting out of a Home Inspection altogether is not wise, and can put a buyer at risk, a Seller’s Home Inspection means the necessary due diligence has been performed, and all parties can feel comfortable proceeding.

Seller’s Home Inspections mitigate risk not only for buyers but also for sellers. According to real estate lawyer and columnist Mark Weisleder, “…sellers should take steps to properly investigate any damage that occurs before closing and complete any necessary repairs. I also recommend that this be disclosed to any buyer so that they can satisfy themselves that the repairs were done correctly. By doing so, you avoid the time, costs and aggravation of unnecessary lawsuits after closing.”**

Weisleder explains, “The standard agreement of purchase and sale says that the seller is responsible for the property until closing. If any substantial damage occurs before closing, then the buyer has the option of taking the insurance money and closing, or refusing to close.”**

Carson Dunlop Home Seller's Inspections help the seller, and subsequently the buyer, to make informed decisions with respect to the property. The electronic report is a comprehensive analysis of over 400 items in the home, and includes photos and technical illustrations to ensure clarity on all issues. There are also marketing materials available to further help with the sale of the home and provide a more aesthetically pleasing breakdown of the property to potential buyers. To view a full description of what is included in a Carson Dunlop Home Seller's Inspection please click here or call 800-268-7070.

*SOURCE: The Globe and Mail, Ricky Chada
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/home-and-garden/real-estate/can-i-ditch-the-home-inspection-when-i-buy-a-house/article10805485/ 
**SOURCE: The Toronto Star, Mark Weisleder
http://www.thestar.com/business/personal_finance/2013/06/28/couple_selling_home_should_
have_disclosed_flooding.html

Topics: Home Inspection, Market Advice, Carson Dunlop

How Home Inspectors Help in a Hot Market

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Sep 13, 2013 2:41:00 PM

HomesAs we have witnessed with multiple articles in The Globe and Mail, The National Post, and The Toronto Star, the Toronto real estate market is hot. This past July was the best since 2009, with a 16% surge in sales, and August saw a 21% increase. Despite initial concerns about mortgage rates and household debt, there appears to be no slowdown in sight as the fall market begins.

According to Toronto Real Estate Board President, Dianne Usher, “Many households have accounted for the added costs brought on by stricter mortgage lending guidelines and have reactivated their search for a home.”

The Board is confident that house prices and sales will remain high. Usher continues, “Despite an increase in borrowing costs during the spring and summer, an average priced home in the GTA has remained affordable for a household earning an average income."

A hot real estate market should not prevent keeping a cool head, but it can. Many buyers will go to great lengths to remain competitive in this climate, and that includes waiving their right to include a Home Inspection clause in their Agreement of Purchase and Sale. While opting out of the inspection may appear to be advantageous initially, it soon becomes a disadvantage.

Joseph Richer, the Real Estate Council of Ontario’s registrar overseeing professional conduct in Ontario maintains, “…a qualified Home Inspector can identify underlying problems with a home’s major systems that real estate professionals are not trained to assess.”*

In his Toronto Star column, “Ask Joe”, Richer addresses the importance of having a Home Inspection performed. He asserts, “It can be tempting to skip this requirement in ‘hot’ housing markets. But if you skip it, you’re taking a significant risk. Sellers may be unaware of property defects. A Home Inspection can help you avoid costly and stressful problems with electrical, plumbing, heating and other unseen systems.”*

A Carson Dunlop Home Inspection will provide you with the tools and resources to make an informed decision when purchasing a property. Our Home Buyer’s Inspections are a comprehensive evaluation of over 400 items in the home from the roof to the basement. The inspection and written report give our clients the critical information they need. Our inspections include:

  • A summary page with key findings
  • Improvement recommendations for conditions, with time frame and cost estimates
  • Photos and colour illustrations for clarity
  • A free copy of the Home Reference Book to help you further understand how your home works
  • A check for manufacturer recalls on appliances through RecallChek
  • Free enrolment in the Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association

We also suggest a Thermal Imaging Inspection be added to your Home Inspection, to help identify hidden leakage in your home.

We recognize that house hunting in a competitive market can be hectic and stressful. Our Home Inspections are not. Book online or over the phone. Request a morning, afternoon, or weekend appointment. Receive your report the same day your inspection is completed, via email. Call or email us anytime with questions.

To learn more about Carson Dunlop and our Home Inspections, please visit carsondunlop.com or call 800-268-7070.

*SOURCE: Toronto Star, Joe Richer
http://www.thestar.com/life/homes/2013/07/19/a_home_inspection_before
_you_buy_will_help_stop_trouble_before_it_starts.html

Topics: Home Inspection, Market Advice, Carson Dunlop

Air Conditioner Maintenance: Stay Cool with Carson Dunlop

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Aug 15, 2013 2:54:00 PM

Homeowners Newsletter

Poll

 

With temperatures in the high 30s, and humidity pushing them to the mid 40s, diamonds and dogs have some stiff competition when it comes to humankind's affections. In the summer, homeowners have a new best friend: the air conditioner. This technology takes sweltering days and makes them comfortable. These units can be the difference between endless tossing and turning and a good night's sleep; making them a very valuable asset. But, where diamonds have jewellers and dogs have veterinarians, ensuring your air conditioner is, and stays, in good condition can be less straightforward. 

Last month we asked what measures homeowners implemented to maintain their air conditioners. Of the 27 responses we received from our clients and real estate partners, it has become evident that while many recognize the importance of air conditioner maintenance, they aren't sure where to start or what to do. Working with our Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association partner, AtlasCare, we have developed a short list of easy-to-complete items to make sure you stay cool and comfortable until it's time for ghosts and pumpkins. 

Filters 

FilterInspect your air conditioner's filter on a monthly basis to see if it needs changing or cleaning. Dust and dirt can build up on the filter, affecting the efficiency and performance of the unit. The cost of filters can range from $5 to $30, depending on the type you select. In most cases, the filter can be found in the ductwork near your furnace. 

Helpful Tip: Write down the size of your filter before going to purchase a new one.   

Environmental Debris 

Air ConditionerThe cleanliness of the exterior of your unit is also important. Dirt outside quickly becomes dirt inside the unit as the fan draws air through the coils. A build-up of dirt, dust, leaves, and grass around the outside of the air conditioner will reduce airflow through the coils, compromising the efficiency and longevity or the system.

Helpful Tip: Don't scrub the coils, as the metal fins are easily damaged. Use a vacuum cleaner with a soft bristle attachment to remove dirt from the outside, then use a hose to spray the coils from the inside out. 

Annual Servicing

Having a professional come and inspect the unit regularly will help ensure the performance of its more complex components. While we do encourage the maintenance items discussed above, for safety reasons it is best to reach out to a specialist with respect to the more comprehensive mechanics. This should be done on a yearly basis.

Helpful Tip: Consider the following when selecting your contractor:

  • Look on their website for any special certifications. Are they a member of any organization that holds them accountable for the quality of service they provide?
  • Look into their quality and service guarantees. Make sure they have protection in place in case they damage your home, or if your unit doesn't work.
  • Make sure they can actually serve you. Do they have enough trucks to be there when you need them?
  • Ensure they provide emergency service for those moments when your unit breaks down. (However, an annual maintenance plan should help reduce the risk of having to deal with emergency repairs).  

We believe that a little prevention can go a long way towards providing security and savings. It's one of the fundamental values behind our Home Inspections and the reason we created the Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association. 

This not-for-profit program provides our clients and real estate agents with fast, easy, and cost-effective access to group discounts, benefits, and warranties to help protect their home and their investment. From now until September 15, 2013, AtlasCare is currently offering Homeowners Association members $30 off an Annual Tune-Up of their heating and cooling equipment. Call 905-829-1296 for details. To learn more about the Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association please click here or call 800-268-7070.

Topics: Home Inspection, Monthly Newsletters, Homeowners Association, Carson Dunlop, Cooling

Water, Water Everywhere: Important Maintenance for Wet Basements

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Aug 2, 2013 10:14:00 AM
floodingInarguably, the summer of 2013 has been a wet one. While our seemingly endless downpours make for happy ducks, the same cannot be said for houses. The extreme storms witnessed this season have left many with wet basements, and worse. Although we have discussed several preventative measures homeowners can take to ensure they are prepared for the next bout of heavy rainfalls, there are some items that are beyond control.

Many of the areas more dramatically affected by this summer’s storms were neighborhoods where the sewer systems became overloaded, taxed beyond their capacity. When this happens, excess water from the sewers has no choice but to fill up the pipes connecting the sewers under the street to the drains in the house. The result is a backup into the basement, causing either minor or major flooding – depending on the volume of the overload. This transforms into a more complex problem when storm sewers are shared with sanitary sewers: the water that  backs up through the drains contains not only rain water, but waste products, which presents serious health concerns.

If your home suffered any recent water damage, please consider the following systems and components and have them inspected properly:

1. The Interior

Basement may have water-damaged wall and floor finishes. Beyond the cosmetic issues, the potential for mold growth makes these areas a health concern.

2. The Heating Systems & Water Heater

Many heating systems and water heaters contain important components that are located close to the floor. For most furnaces, the blower fan and motor are in the bottom of the cabinet and the electronic controls are often located there as well. In addition, most boiler systems and water heaters actually have the burner very close to the floor. If any of these pieces of equipment suffer water damage, they should be inspected by a licensed technician, even if they are functioning, as their safety and effectiveness may have been compromised.

3. The Plumbing System

If the home experienced water damage as a result of sewer backup, the main drain pipe, which is responsible for carrying all of the sanitary waste from the home, may be clogged with debris. In this situation, getting a video scan of the sewer system will help to identify any blockages.

4. The Electrical System

Most receptacles are located within 12 inches of the floor. Basement flooding that exceeded this height will have rendered these electrical components unsafe to use. If your basement experienced this level of water intrusion, parts of the home's electrical systems will need to be replaced.

5. The Insulation

If there is damage to the wall finishes, there is potential for mold growth in the insulation, which will need to be replaced. Even if there is no mold, some types will lose their insulating properties and will not recover from being wet.

We've referenced some of the major interior systems that may be affected during times of heavy rain and flooding. It is also critical to focus on the exterior of your home to help prevent future damage. To learn more about exterior maintenance, please click here.  

If your home experiences a flood, it is important to contact your insurance company to determine what coverage your policy provides - especially in light of recent claims data. To learn more about this issue, please click here

In addition, the City of Toronto has implemented a new program to help homeowners protect themselves against basement flooding. To learn more about the grants that may be available to you, please click here

Topics: Home Inspection, Water Damage, Carson Dunlop, Homeowner Tips

Seeing Infrared: Introducing Carson Dunlop Thermal Imaging Inspections

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Jul 22, 2013 3:40:00 PM

July Newsletter

July PollAs we have witnessed these past few months with Calgary, Winnipeg and Toronto all getting hit hard, summer can be a season of heavy rainfall. Scorching temperatures and high humidity combine to create extreme storms, which tend to generate a lot of precipitation in a short time. The resulting flash floods can lead to wet basements and more, and pose a serious concern for homeowners - one that doesn't necessarily evaporate when the water does. As bad as a flooded basement is, it's not as insidious as a smaller, ongoing leak which remains undetected for years and leads to rot, mold, and structural damage. Is there a way to do more than a visual inspection to find these hidden problems?

Thermal imaging can be one answer. Thermal imaging is a non-invasive process that uses an infrared camera to measure and record the surface temperature of materials. Although this type of technology does let you see more than the naked eye, it is not x-ray vision and will not let you see through walls. Instead, infrared cameras take color images, which include a color scale to illustrate temperature differences on surfaces.

Thermographers interpret these temperature readings and use them to help find a number of different conditions. Infrared scans are used in many industries and can aid in identifying concealed water leaks, missing insulation, electrical failures, insect nests, and other issues that are not easily detected by the human eye.

Although infrared cameras do require some specific conditions for the most accurate readings to be obtained, the technology has improved greatly since it was first introduced into the Home Inspection industry. These advancements mean this valuable resource now meets the high standards we hold at Carson Dunlop, with respect to exceeding clients' expectations and providing unparalleled client care.

Thermal Imaging

At Carson Dunlop, we understand that water leakage is a significant concern for our clients. This is why we have tailored our Thermal Imaging Inspections to look for concealed water problems.

During the Thermal Imaging Inspection, inspectors will employ infrared cameras to look for hidden moisture in the most vulnerable areas of the home, with specific focus on basements, and ceilings directly under roofs and bathrooms. The inspector's findings and recommendations, as well as thermal images, will be documented in a detailed report and provided to the client within one business day of the inspection.

We believe that knowledge is power, especially when it comes to one of life's biggest investments: the home. Our decision to offer Thermal Imaging Inspections reflects this core concept. Using infrared technology allows us to provide our clients and real estate partners with a more comprehensive assessment and detailed report. To learn more about Carson Dunlop Thermal Imaging Inspections, please click here or call 1-800-268-7070.  

Topics: Home Inspection, Monthly Newsletters, Carson Dunlop, Thermal Imaging Inspections

Inspect Before You Renovate

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Jul 18, 2013 4:46:00 PM

ConsultJuly is full of perfect days - sunny skies, warm temperatures, and the delightful buzz that can only be made by a circular saw. Yes folks, it's that time of year again: renovation season. It seems in most parts of the city you can't walk for more than a block without seeing large ladders leaning against walls, big bins collecting excess materials, and men and women eager to update their homes. As you start to think about how much better your morning coffee will taste in a bigger kitchen, we encourage you to considering having a Home Inspector in before starting your big summer project.

Although it may seem counterintuitive hiring an inspector to check out the home's systems before you start ripping things apart, it begins to make sense when you stop to think about it. At Carson Dunlop, we've been leaders in the Home Inspection industry since 1978. We know a lot about homes. In the last few months alone, we've written several articles to help homeowners while they renovate their properties. On site, we can offer you even more guidance.

Carson Dunlop Home Inspectors are trained to treat your whole home as a living system. We recognize that one of the major unpleasant aspects of home renovations is that doing what you want almost always leads to doing things you weren't planning. Sometimes it's because hidden problems are uncovered when the work progresses. However, more often than not, it is related to efficiency: it may make sense to do one thing while you are in the middle of doing another. Our team is uniquely qualified to understand what impact doing work on one part of the house will have on other areas. Carson Dunlop Home Inspectors can also help you to sort out what additional work should be done and what would be okay to avoid or defer.

Mechanical Systems

You may have to decide whether or not the electrical service, heating system, or plumbing should be upgraded to support the new work. Our inspectors can help determine how to proceed and answer questions you may have.

Structure

Changes to interior walls may compromise structural support. An inspector can help you determine if a wall is load-bearing, and how you may work around it.

Roof

Adding onto a house or simply providing a dormer or skylight will require roof work. Should you replace all the existing materials, or is it safe to tie in the new work with the old? The inspector can identify and explain your options.

Basement

Finishing a basement in an old house can be the beginning of an experiment in mold growth. A professional inspector can advise you on how to reduce or eliminate dampness, often with easy to implement, low-cost solutions.

working

By taking stock of the house before you get started you will be able to plan your work better. This will mean fewer unexpected repairs as the job proceeds. You also have the chance of making improvements to related systems as you go, increasing the efficiency of your upgrades.

Whether you are establishing your roost in a previously enjoyed house or upgrading the family estate, a pre-renovation consultation with a Carson Dunlop Home Inspector can smooth the transition. We're with you for as long as you own your home, to help keep you comfortable and secure. To learn more, please click here or call 1-800-268-7070.

Topics: Home Inspection, Carson Dunlop, Homeowner Tips

Celebrate with Carson Dunlop

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Jul 15, 2013 9:41:00 AM

It's time for us to share our exciting news with you - and we didn't even have to demolish the wall. Not quite sure what we mean? Look what we can do:

 

redwall   

 

Have you guessed what's happening at Carson Dunlop yet? 

We're turning 35!

One year is Paper. Ten years is Tin. 35 years is...Thermal?

For our 35th anniversary we're taking it to the next level. We may be one of the most experienced Home Inspection companies in North America, but that does not mean we're set in our ways. We are committed to offering our clients and real estate partners the best service, and now that includes thermal imaging.

To celebrate 35 years leading the Home Inspection industry we are going to be offering 35 days of free Thermal Inspections (each valued at $300). From July 15th until August 18th, 2013, receive a free Thermal Inspection when you schedule a Carson Dunlop Home Buyer's Inspection.

To learn more about this exciting new service please click here or call us at 1-800-268-7070.

Topics: Home Inspection, Promotion/Contest, Carson Dunlop

Can You Guess What's Happening at Carson Dunlop?

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Jun 24, 2013 3:03:00 PM

Major developments are happening at Carson Dunlop. We've got something huge to celebrate and we're thrilled to share it with everyone, but we've got a bit of demolition left to do.

wall promo

Can you guess what's behind this wall? We'll give you a hint: it's big! Share your answers here or on Twitter with @carsondunlop to learn more.

We will be officially announcing our good news on July 15, 2013. 

Can't wait until then? Keep checking our blog and social media sites for more exciting details and clues. 

Topics: Home Inspection, Promotion/Contest, Carson Dunlop

Mind Your A's and Q's? Air Quality Inspections Explained

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Jun 12, 2013 2:41:00 PM

June Newsletter

Poll

June is finally upon us - it's time to break out the sunscreen, barbeque tongs, lounge chairs, and...tissues? Unfortunately, sunshine brings allergens and this summer is being projected as one of the worst for pollen we've seen in a long time. As many people experience the joys of itchy eyes, runny noses, and sneezing fits, we thought it prudent to talk about the allergens present in your home. Over 64% of the 22 individuals we surveyed last month admitted they were concerned about the air quality in their home.

Air quality is an issue that encompasses many areas, so we reached out to our newest Specialty Service partner, LEAP Management Inc, to discuss air quality issues and how they are assessed. We spoke directly with inspector Lilja Palsson, B.Sc., Dip., Eng., CRSP. Lilja has a degree in Microbiology from the University of Waterloo, a post-degree diploma in Environmental Engineering Technology from Conestoga College, a certificate in Occupational Health and Safety from Ryerson, and she is also a Canadian Registered Safety Professional. 

Carson Dunlop: How does an air quality assessment work; what happens during this type of assessment?
Lilja Palsson:
"Air quality is a very broad term. When doing this type of assessment, I first talk to the client about their concerns. Are they experiencing allergic symptoms such as headache, sore throat, or respiratory distress? Is there an odor? After discussing what issues they're experiencing, I decide what kind of parameters I would like to sample for - perhaps air sampling and assessment for mold; or maybe a more sophisticated sampling device to determine the source of an odor. I'll run a few air samples and do a visual inspection to see if there are any issues that caught my eye (staining, spray foam, etc.)."

CD: What is the most common misconception homeowners have in relation to air quality?
LP:
"Homeowners tend to think that events such as flooding, sewer backup, installing spray foam, renovations, etc. will not affect the indoor air quality of their home. They often do not associate any illness or symptoms they are experiencing as being related to those events. The correlation between air quality and homeownerships and maintenance issues tends to go unnoticed."

CD: What is the weirdest thing you've encountered during an air quality inspection?
LP: "I did find gold in someone's attic while sampling vermiculite. A previous owner of the home had stashed an old cookie tin full of tacky gold jewelry that I found while taking samples in the attic. I brought the tin down for the owner and we looked at it. I think it was from the 1940s or so. She had the jewelry appraised - she didn't tell me the exact amount but she called to thank me and said that I paid for myself and more!"

CD: What simple, preventative maintenance can homeowners undertake to help preserve their air quality?
LP:
"In terms of preventative maintenance I would say always monitor your home for potential leaks, floods and other water issues. Replace your roof before it leaks; clean your gutters regularly; caulk your windows and replace them before they leak; make sure your basement is waterproofed before you finish it; use your washroom fan; make sure your bathtub is well-caulked; keep your home well-ventilated in the summer and sealed with the furnace running in the winter; if you add insulation to your attic, add ventilation as well - I really could go on, but I know this is an article, not a novel."

As a Home Inspection company our aim is to keep homeowners safe, warm and dry. Much like Lilja, we believe in the importance of home maintenance as it pertains to keeping families comfortable and secure in their homes. Carson Dunlop's Home Reference Book outlines many strategies for helping homeowners maintain their properties. To learn more about how this text can help you, please click here.

In addition, our Specialty Services program provides our clients and real estate partners with fast, easy and cost-effective access to qualified specialists, like LEAP Management Inc, all with a single call. To learn more, please click here or call 1-800-268-7070 to schedule an air quality assessment. 

Topics: Home Reference Book, Air Quality, Home Inspection, Monthly Newsletters, Specialty Services, Homeowner Tips

Home Inspector Hot Seat: Sheila Corman

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Jun 7, 2013 2:58:00 PM

Hot SeatOn this week's Home Inspector Hot Seat we've got one of our Professional Home Inspectors, Sheila Corman, in the "hot seat". Sheila's experience as a carpenter and stone mason means she knows homes inside and out. As a mother and a female in a male-dominated industry, Sheila brings a compassionate and unique perspective to every Home Inspection she performs.

What is the biggest challenge you've faced during a Home Inspection?

SC: "For me, the biggest challenge usually boils down to extreme temperatures. We do HomeSheila Inspections year round, and we look at every aspect of the home, which means both interior and exterior. I've inspected homes in -20 degree weather and +30 degree weather, inspecting outside and on the roof in those extremes can definitely be challenging."

What is one piece of advice you'd give every homeowner?

SC: "I always encourage homeowners to familiarize themselves with the systems in their home. It's important to know what you're working with and how it works. The Home Reference Book is a great tool when it comes to figuring out the systems in your home - and you can always email me with questions if you aren't sure about something."

Want to know what others are saying about Sheila?

"The inspector we had, Sheila, was outstanding and in fact I would request her specifically for future inspections. She was very thorough and offered clear explanations and ensured we understood what items were a priority and how to maintain systems in order to maximize their lifespan." - S.M., April 14th, 2013.

As you can see, the Carson Dunlop Home Inspection team is always up for the challenge and ready to help our clients and real estate partners. Make sure to watch out for more Home Inspector Hot Seat to get to know the rest of the team.

Want to get to know the Carson Dunlop Home Inspection team even better? To view profiles for each inspector, which outline their background, interests and client testimonials, please click here.  

Topics: Home Inspection, Home Inspectors, Carson Dunlop