Home Inspection Articles

House Hunting Have You All Atwitter? Home Inspectors Can Help

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Jun 16, 2014 10:44:00 AM

ComputerIn an effort to help better inform first-time home buyers, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has developed an initiative on Twitter to provide users with easy access to real estate experts and resources. RBC runs #RBCFirstHome Twitter chats frequently, and they’ve graciously asked us to contribute to the last few sessions. These chats aim to assist with the home buying process by allowing home buyers to communicate with professionals who specialize in various areas related to real estate (REALTORS®, mortgage specialists, home stagers, real estate lawyers, and Home Inspectors). Participants can tweet with the #RBCFirstHome hashtag and ask experts questions related to buying a house and the housing market.

We’ve learned a lot during these sessions, and not just about technology (Twitter is fun, but it sure isn’t intuitive #whatisahastag). Connecting with first time buyers reminded us that home buying is a complicated process that many people have questions about.

To help eliminate some of this knowledge gap, we combed through the questions asked throughout the chats we’ve participated in, and compiled a list of the inquiries and comments we feel will help home buyers most. If you’re in the process of buying your first home, or if you just want to refresh your knowledge, consider the information below – you might have some similar questions.

  • What kind of things are inspectors typically looking for?

A professional Home Inspection is a visual assessment of a property. Inspectors will investigate the interior and exterior of the home, evaluating its major components – for example, the roof, the structure, the electrical and plumbing, the heating and cooling system, and the insulation. Their task is to determine how the systems in the home are operating and whether there are any large expenses the buyer will be facing should they move forward with the purchase. The focus is on functionality, lifespan, and safety. Your Home Inspector’s goal is to give you a concrete understanding of the home so you can make an informed decision on the purchase.

  • If you find issues during the inspection, who fixes them?

This is more situational. When a major expense is discovered it is up to the potential buyer to determine what their recourse will be, if any. Some buyers use the discovery to negotiate the price, or have the seller repair or replace the item. In other cases the buyer decides to walk away from the deal. Every case is different and it’s best to get the information you need from the inspector and then work with your real estate agent to figure out what your next step will be.

  • Should you have more than one type of inspection?

This depends on the home and your concerns. Over the last couple of years we have seen an increasing number of clients opt to make a more informed decision by using specialists to look at specific items or specific areas of the home. These services are usually provided by specialists in their field to examine areas that fall outside of the scope of a normal Home Inspection. Some examples of these specialty services are environmental testing like mold, asbestos and indoor air quality, pool, pest, chimney and sewer camera inspections and many more. If you are buying a rural property you may also want or need to have a well and septic inspection. As well, Thermal Imaging Inspections, where an inspector uses an infrared camera to test for moisture issues in the home, have become very popular in the last few years. It really comes down to what makes you the most comfortable as a buyer.

  • How do you find a qualified inspector?

MovingYour real estate agent will usually provide a list of three companies that they recommend, but will leave the final decision up to you. You do not have to choose an inspector from that list, but it does give you a good place to start. In terms of evaluating an inspector to see if they are right for you and your home there are many qualities to consider. We recommend that you focus on experience and education, and ensure that the report includes the information that you require in an easy to understand format. Many people tend to focus on the cost of the inspection, and while we understand that it’s important to stay within your budget, going with the least expensive option can sometimes cost you in the long run. Buying a home is arguably the biggest investment you will ever make in your life, so spending the money on a qualified professional to educate you on the home you're buying is an essential part of the buying process. If you aren't sure what to consider, check out our guide on how to choose a Home Inspector.  

We hope this information has helped to shed some light on questions you were afraid to ask, or didn’t know you had. If you want some more expert advice as you prepare to buy your first home make sure to join us (@carsondunlop) for the next #RBCFirstHome Twitter chat on June 17th at 9:00pm ET. Twitter not your thing, or need some more immediate answers? Call our office at 800-268-7070 or send us an email, our customer service representatives are always available to help.

Topics: Home Inspection, Market Advice, Home Inspector Advice, Promotion/Contest, Social Media, First Time Buyers, Carson Dunlop, Specialty Services, Thermal Imaging Inspections, Twitter

Choosing a Home Inspector: What To Look For & Why

Posted by Thea Scrimger on May 1, 2014 9:54:00 AM

Bright HomeSpring is known as one of the busiest seasons for real estate and this one is no exception. Fresh sunshine and warm temperatures are bringing home buyers out of hibernation in droves. In a recent News Release, Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President, Dianne Usher said, “the spring market started off on a strong note in the Greater Toronto Area [GTA], with a 10.8 per cent year-over-year sales increase reported by Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® during the first two weeks of April.”* Although many predicted that this year’s spring market would be slower than normal due to the consistently fewer number of homes for sale, record sales numbers challenge this assumption. Usher explains, “While the persistent listings shortage in the GTA, coupled with strong demand, has led to a brisk pace of price growth, very low advertised mortgage rates have gone a long way to mitigating the effect of upward trending home prices.”*

The fast pace of this busy market, combined with the fierce competition for homes, means most individuals who are buying a house have to move very quickly to get the property they want. Some believe that “moving quickly” translates to waiving conditions – a decision we strongly advise against; especially skipping the Home Inspection. A Home Inspection is a very important part of the real estate process, as these professional consultations provide buyers with a comprehensive evaluation of the home from the roof to the basement to give them a better understanding of the home they are buying. To move quickly without compromising on quality or information we encourage home buyers to make strategic preparations when they first enter the real estate market.

Just as you choose your real estate agent before you start looking for a new home, why not do the same with your Home Inspector? Choosing your Home Inspector early in the game can put you at a considerable advantage. Instead of making multiple phone calls to determine which inspection company you would like to work with and then figuring out everyone’s availability (yours, your agent's, the seller's, their agent's, and the inspector’s) all while you’re trying to secure the home (talking to your bank, confirming your mortgage, and remaining competitive compared to other interested buyers), selecting your inspector early on can save you some stress and make the buying process more efficient.

How to Choose a Home Inspector

When looking for a Home Inspector, many buyers focus on the three Es: education, experience, and expense. While we do agree that it’s important to ensure that the inspector you’re working with is well-trained and very familiar with the industry, we believe that when it comes to one of the biggest investments you will ever make, the cost of the inspection should not be your primary concern. The emphasis should instead be on the quality of service you receive. In addition to the training and knowledge of your inspector, here are a few other items to consider:

  • Report Quality

Most Home Inspectors will have a sample of their inspection report available for prospective clients, either online or by request – make sure to review this as it will be the roadmap to your new home. Can you read it? How detailed is it? Are there pictures? And, most importantly, how soon after your inspection will you receive it? If the report falls short in any of these areas you should reconsider working with this company. An inspector may be great on site, but if they don’t provide you with a valuable report, it might be time to find someone else. 

  • Standards of Practice

Reputable Home Inspection Companies will adhere to a Standard of Practice (if they don’t that is a bad sign) – familiarize yourself with this document. It will outline the way the inspector will inspect, and what is and is not covered in their inspection. Reading this will help you to understand what your inspector will be assessing in the home and what to expect from the inspection. 

  • Accessibility

Looking for an inspectorWhen vetting your Home Inspector it’s important to make sure that they’re available when you need them – before and after the inspection. You should know how much notice you have to give the company to get an inspection when you need it; do they need more than 24 hours? It’s also good practice to discuss their post-inspection policy. Can you contact them if you have questions about the report? What about if you run into an issue after you close, or if you want to do a renovation a few years into homeownership? Beyond these factors, it’s very important to consider how accessible they are. Is it hard to get in touch with them? How quickly do they or their company get back to you? These questions point to the relationship you’ll have with your inspector after they’ve done their job, and it’s valuable to be aware of their commitment to their clients.

Selecting your Home Inspector before you’ve found your home means that when you do find your dream home you’ll have one less thing to worry about. At Carson Dunlop, our Customer Service Team is available to answer questions about our Home Inspection services and more seven days a week. Contact us via email or call 800-268-7070 to see how we can help you. We’d love to help welcome you to your new home.


*SOURCE: Toronto Real Estate Board - http://www.torontorealestateboard.com/market_news/release_market_updates/

Topics: Home Inspection, Market Advice, Home Inspector Advice, Carson Dunlop, Real Estate News

Bidding War Advice: Should You Waive Your Home Inspection?

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Apr 15, 2014 9:59:00 AM

HomeThe spring real estate market has begun, and as it heats up many home buyers are preparing to go to war. Bidding wars are not a new phenomenon – especially in Toronto - however the public’s willingness to participate in these wars is starting to shift. The Globe and Mail recently reported on a survey conducted by Pollara for BMO, which showed that “34 per cent of Canadians surveyed are willing to enter a bidding war when it’s time to buy a home, an increase of six points, or 21 per cent, from a year ago.”* These figures are even higher when you look exclusively at Toronto, where “the appetite for competitive bids among major cities is the highest in Toronto, at 44 per cent.”*

A bidding war is when more than one prospective home buyer puts in an offer on a property. Each buyer does not know what the others are presenting, and makes their offer based on a combination of what they believe the house is worth and what the other buyers may offer. You don’t want to bid too high and overpay, but you don’t want to bid too low and not get the house. In most instances, bidding wars drive the price of the home up, with many properties in the Greater Toronto Area closing for several thousand dollars more than the original asking price.

The Globe and Mail described the recent sale of a home in The Beaches neighbourhood which sparked a 12-way bidding war, causing the home to sell for $58,000 over the listing price - despite the fact that the property required several major upgrades.** Due to current market conditions, this is not an uncommon occurrence, and buyers should be prepared to encounter this type of situation. As Mark Weisleder explains, “Real estate markets in Toronto and Vancouver are still red hot with bidding wars driving up prices…One reason is that listings are in short supply.”*** It is easy for buyers to put themselves and their investment at risk by doing whatever they can to stay competitive in bidding wars. Consider the information below if you find yourself engaging in a bidding war.

HouseWhen buying a home in a multiple-offer situation, many buyers feel that opting out of their Home Inspection will help them to gain the upper hand in negotiations, and that this decision could save on some of the many expenses they will encounter during the real estate transaction. However, this is not the case; not having a Home Inspection isn’t advantageous, nor is it financially responsible. In addressing bidding wars and the ways in which buyers can protect themselves, Weisleder urges, “don’t bid without an inspection”.*** He describes the climate in Toronto, saying “buyers are paying tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars over the asking price. What’s worse, many buyers are still putting in offers without any conditions, hoping this will help them clinch the deal.”***

New HomeBidding wars can be both discouraging and expensive. Weisleder advises buyers that, “in an environment of bidding wars, odds are that you will lose up to five times before you get the house you want.”*** While it can be devastating to fall in love with a house, only to have another individual purchase it, and then have that happen over and over again, you shouldn’t start waiving your conditions – especially your Home Inspection. “You may pay up to $2,500 in inspection fees before you get an accepted offer. In my opinion, when buying a million dollar property, this is a worthwhile investment. I have heard too many stories of people who bought without an inspection, only to discover major problems after.”***

A Carson Dunlop Home Inspection and inspection report help to provide homeowners with the critical information they need. Check out a sample of our report to see how we can help you. The report includes:

  • A summary page with key findings
  • Improvement recommendations for conditions within the home, with timeframes and cost estimates
  • Photos and colour illustrations for clarity
  • A check for manufacturer recalls on appliances through RecallChek

We recognize that house hunting in a competitive market can be hectic and stressful. As such, we try and make it as easy as possible to get the information you need to make an informed decision about your home. Not only do we offer sameday and weekend inspections, we also have discounts available to Carson Dunlop clients who have had to do several inspections due to unsuccessful bids.

Our inspection report is delivered to you via email the same day your inspection is completed. Our inspectors are available multiple times a day, seven days a week. You can schedule your inspection online or over the phone at 800-268-7070.

Feel free to call or email us anytime with questions or concerns. We look forward to welcoming you to your new home!


*SOURCE: Globe and Mail - http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/personal-finance/mortgages/more-canadians-willing-to-enter-bidding-war-to-buy-a-home-survey/article17311905/
**SOURCE: Globe and Mail, Sydnia Yu - http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/home-and-garden/real-estate/beaches-house-sparks-12-way-bidding-war/article17136141/
***SOURCE: Toronto Star, Mark Weisleder - http://www.thestar.com/business/personal_finance/2014/03/14/toronto_real_

Topics: Home Inspection, Market Advice, Home Inspector Advice, Carson Dunlop

High Home Prices May Mean More Complex Home Inspections

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Apr 7, 2014 10:51:00 AM

Save MoneyThe Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) has released its resale market figures for the month of March, reporting that “the average selling price for March 2014 sales was $557,684 – an increase of almost eight per cent compared to the average report for March 2013. The average price for the first quarter of 2014 was up by 8.5 per cent year-over-year.”* For the most part, home prices across Canada are on the rise, as demonstrated by the hot markets in major cities such as Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto.

These high prices are especially prevalent in the Greater Toronto Area where the demand for houses is much greater than the supply. TREB President, Dianne Usher, explains the effects this equation has had on the real estate market: “Sales activity in the GTA accelerated last month. Compared to last year, a greater number of buyers found affordable home ownership options, as evidenced by sales growth for all major home types. Against this backdrop, however, overall inventory at the end of March remained lower than last year. This means competition between buyers increased, which is why the average selling price continued to climb.”*


With only a small number of new listings available, especially in spring, which is the busiest season for real estate, buyers are entering a frenzied market. The Toronto Star is reporting that, in an effort to combat the extreme measures home buyers feel they must go to, “the Real Estate Council of Ontario [RECO] has launched a public education campaign to warn buyers about the dangers of letting emotion get out of hand.”** Unfortunately, this trend of high prices as a response to limited listings isn’t expected to shift anytime soon. TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis, Jason Mercer, says, “With borrowing costs remaining low, and in fact declining, strong home ownership demand will continue to butt up against a constrained supply of listings. Strong price growth will be the result for the remainder of 2014.”* So what does this mean for home buyers? How can they protect themselves?

We recognize that having to pay more for a home means having a greatly reduced budget for repairs – especially unexpected ones. And just as RECO’s attempt to quell the frustration brought on by current market conditions focuses on education and encourages home buyers to be home smart, we have redesigned our Home Buyer’s Inspections to further inform and protect our clients. We now offer multi-tiered inspections to address whatever concerns that buyers may have, and at cost-effective prices. Our clients now have a choice of three Home Buyer’s Inspection packages: Basic, Essential, and Enhanced.


BasicThe inspection includes:
  • A summary page with key findings.

  • Improvement recommendations for conditions, with time frames and ball park costs.

  • Photos and colour illustrations for clarity.

  • A free Home Reference Book, to help you understand how your home works. ($59 value)

  • A check for manufacturer recalls on appliances through RecallChek. See a sample report.

  • Free enrollment in the Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association.

EssentialThe inspection includes:
  • The same components as the Basic Package.

  • A HomeVerified Home History Report which will provide information on: grow op and meth lab records for the area, local school rankings, neighbourhood amenities, and political representation.

  • A Thermal Imaging Inspection with an infrared camera to help to identify hidden water problems within the home.

  • Free technical support for as long as you own your home.

EnhancedThe inspection includes:
  • The same components as the Essential Package.

  • An environmental assessment, which covers mould, air quality, and asbestos.

  • A specialist will test:

    • Three materials for asbestos

    • Two indoor air samples

    • One outdoor reference sample

    • One surface sample for mould


Our Home Inspectors are available to perform these inspections seven days a week. You can schedule your inspection over the phone at 800-268-7070 or online. All of our packages start with a great one-on-one inspection experience and a clear inspection report to guide you, then increase in scope and depth. Buyers select the package that best fits their needs.

If you have any questions about Home Inspections or our new packages, give us a call or reach out to us via email. You can also connect with us on Twitter or Facebook – we’re always here to help.


*SOURCE: The Toronto Real Estate Board - http://www.torontorealestateboard.com/market_news/release_market_updates/
**SOURCE: Susan Pigg, The Toronto Star - http://www.thestar.com/business/real_estate/2014/04/03/gta_house_prices_hit_

Topics: Home Inspection, Market Advice, Carson Dunlop Update, Carson Dunlop, Real Estate News

Do Condos Need a Home Inspection?

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Mar 27, 2014 10:44:00 AM

CondominiumsMany real estate boards and organizations are predicting that 2014 will be a strong year for real estate in Canada, especially in the Greater Toronto Area. This assessment is not exclusive to low-rise properties, as sales of residential homes were not the only real estate sector to see growth in the latter part of 2013. According to the Toronto Star, “Almost 4,300 new condos sold in the fourth quarter of 2013, the best quarter in one and a half years.”* This upward trend is expected to continue, with the spike in condo sales “coupled with growing signs of consumer confidence, has developers gearing up for the launch of new projects, largely concentrated in the sought-after downtown core, close to transit lines.”*

Moreover, the steady rise in prices for low-rise homes in the Greater Toronto Area may have an influx of individuals considering condo ownership. The Toronto Star reports, “Sky-high house prices, and a shortage of low-rise homes in the City of Toronto in particular, is also likely to drive more buyers to condos this year.”* With more people expected to pursue condo ownership over home ownership, there is additional emphasis being put on the following concerns: what is a Condo Inspection, and do I need one?

Is Your Unit Protected

The Government of Ontario’s Ministry of Consumer Services has released a helpful guide for those new to the condo market, outlining what to expect when buying a condo, including a comparison of new versus resale units, condo fees and association memberships, and much more. With reference to inspections, the Ministry of Consumer Services says, “We recommend that buyers of resale condos get a Home Inspection. A quality Home Inspection will help you make an informed decision before buying a home. It will help you to understand a home’s condition and value.”** 

Many do not see the value in having a Condo Inspection performed. Condos are so different from low-rise homes, and this can lead condo buyers and real estate agents to conclude that they don’t require an inspection. There’s no roof to get on, no basement, no visible structure, and often no separate heating and cooling system - so what’s the point of an inspection?

While a condo does differ from a low-rise home, it still possesses the potential for issues, which buyers should be made aware of. Your inspector won’t get on the roof, but they will be looking for evidence of what is happening in the unit above yours – is there any leakage or moisture seeping into your unit? There may or may not be a complex heating system in your suite, but there are many other systems within your unit that will benefit from being assessed by a professional, like the electrical and plumbing systems. Your inspector will also check your appliances, both for functionality and safety. Are they working properly? Have they been recalled for safety issues? At the end of your inspection, you will receive a detailed report of the issues that have been uncovered, with cost estimates and timelines for maintenance.

Get a Condo Inspection

Although many people consider a condominium to be low-maintenance, this is generally only true with respect to the common elements. Electrical, plumbing and heating problems that crop up within the unit can surprise many new condo owners. A leaking shower stall, water-damaged hardwood floor, and aging heating coil can each cost thousands of dollars to repair. 

Having a Home Inspector go through your condo with you, letting you know of any existing issues, or areas where issues may arise, will help you gain a more complete understanding of what to expect should you become the owner of the unit.

At Carson Dunlop we have Home Inspectors on staff who have been specially trained to assess condos. They do not inspect a condo as if it were a home, but recognize that it is a very different type of dwelling, and perform their inspection accordingly. Our Condo Inspections include:

  • An inspection of and consultation on the systems within your unit, focusing on their current condition and how they should be maintained
  • A detailed investigation of all major appliances
  • A check for manufacturer recalls on appliances
  • A detailed inspection report that documents the condition of systems, components, and appliances, including illustrations, technical diagrams, and helpful maintenance information
  • Membership in the Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association
  • An optional warranty plan for the unit - the Horizon Home Warranty

We also recommend that condo buyers have a Thermal Imaging Inspection performed with their condo inspection.

Scheduling a condo inspection is easier than you think. Book your inspection online or over the phone at 800-268-7070. Request the time you need - weekday or weekend, our condo inspectors are available to help you.


*SOURCE: Susan Pigg, Toronto Star -  http://www.thestar.com/business/real_estate/2014/01/17/gta_condo_market_
**SOURCE: Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services - http://www.sse.gov.on.ca/mcs/en/Pages/condo3.aspx

Topics: Condo Inspection, Market Advice, Home Inspector Advice, Carson Dunlop

Do Luxury Homes Require Luxury Home Inspections?

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Feb 6, 2014 10:15:00 AM

luxury homeReal estate associations and groups have begun to release their data and analyses from 2013, and it’s evident that the Canadian real estate market is doing well, and that this trend is expected to continue. With home prices and sales up almost across the board, save for certain anomalous regions, many are throwing the notion of a “soft landing” out the window.

One of the areas that saw the most growth was the luxury home market. A recent article in Macleans, citing a document produced by Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, reported that “luxury home sales in most of the country’s biggest cities rose higher than expected…Calgary saw the highest year-over-year sales growth, with a 33 per cent gain, followed by Vancouver with 19 per cent and Toronto with 13 per cent.”* In light of the dramatic increase 2013 saw in sales of luxury homes and the projection that this trend will continue we felt it was important to address what to expect from the Home Inspection when you’re buying a luxury property.

Luxury Homes Vs Residential Homes: What’s the Difference?

A property usually receives the designation of “luxury home” when it meets requirements related to: 

  • Listing price - luxury homes are typically at least a million and a half dollars
  • Size - luxury homes are at least 4,000 square feet
  • Features - luxury homes may have any number of amenities including pools, spas, or wine cellars (to name just a few)

Your average residential home, especially one that is located in an urban area, does not meet these requirements. It may hit the million dollar asking price, but that is usually due to location; for the most part these homes definitely do not possess comparable square-footage or amenities. The difference in these types of properties equates to a difference in the type of Home Inspection they need.

What to Expect From the Home Inspection

A Home Inspection isn’t an invasive or destructive exercise; it’s a purely visual investigation of a property at a specific point in time. It is intended to identify components of the home that are significantly deficient, unsafe, or near the end of their life. The inspector will provide a general overview of the home, focusing on performance rather than cosmetic, code, or design issues.

In a recent Toronto Star article, columnist Mark Weisleder suggested that Home Inspections may require what he calls a “team approach”. He argues that homebuyers should consider the different systems their home may have, such as well and septic, chimney, and HVAC. Weisleder believes there is a benefit to having these areas inspected by a specialist in addition to the Home Inspector, claiming that “when you are about to make one of the largest purchase decisions in your life, it is important to have as much information that you need in advance. A Home Inspection team may supply the answer.”**

Though Weisleder penned this article because “when you now consider that the average price for homes in the GTA is now over $500,000, and with a majority of homes being over 20 years old, it may be time to take a…team approach when it comes to inspecting a home prior to any purchase decision,”** we feel the idea of using a team speaks more to the way luxury properties should be inspected. That is not to say a “team approach” isn’t valuable with the average home, but that it is an absolute necessity for luxury homes.


Due to the sheer magnitude of these types of properties and the extent to which they are customized, the need for specialists to examine them in conjunction with the Home Inspector increases. Weisleder notes the fireplace "should be inspected by a qualified wood energy technology transfer professional once a year” and that “homeowners should have their furnaces and HVAC systems checked once each year.”** Most luxury homes have multiple fireplaces and furnaces – as well as many more extravagant features which also require regular inspection. For example, a pool should be inspected twice a season (upon opening and closing). The complexity of these types of homes calls for a more complex Home Inspection, one that includes a “team approach”.

How Do You Achieve a “Team Approach” to Home Inspection?

The Carson Dunlop Specialty Services program provides clients and real estate partners with fast, easy, and cost-effective access to qualified specialists, so they can conveniently arrange for a Home Inspection and additional property assessments with a single phone call. Specialty services can be added before, during, or after the inspection. Carson Dunlop client care representatives will manage the booking, coordination, and payments of any of the inspections you require.

While we feel that a “team approach” to the Home Inspection is necessary when purchasing a luxury property, it is also beneficial when buying a smaller-scale home, especially when it has unique features, like well and septic system or wood burning stove and fireplace. To discuss the complete list of Specialty Services we offer, and what would be valuable for your home, please email us or call 800-268-7070.  

*SOURCE: Macleans - http://www2.macleans.ca/2014/01/09/housing-prices-rise-in-4th-quarter-demand-continues-for-luxury-homes-reports/  
**SOURCE: Mark Weisleder, Toronto Star - http://www.thestar.com/business/personal_finance/2014/01/05/home_inspection_may

Topics: Home Inspection, Market Advice, Home Inspector Advice, Carson Dunlop, Specialty Services

Thinking of Skipping Your Home Inspection? Think Again.

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Jan 23, 2014 11:05:00 AM

For SaleDo you know what’s easier to make than a New Year’s resolution? An excuse. It has only been a few weeks since 2014 began, and for many the drive for self-change is dwindling. “I’m too tired to make dinner, I’ll just order pizza,” or “I forgot my towel, I guess I can’t go to the gym.” Excuses aren’t only made for resolutions; there are plenty of things we let ourselves get out of, like Home Inspections. “This house is over my budget, I guess I can’t afford the Home Inspection,” or “My real estate agent informed me that this will probably be a multiple-offer situation, I should waive my Home Inspection clause to be competitive.” Just as it’s important for you to make the right choices in order to stay healthy, it’s important for you to be smart when it comes to your investments.

With the Canadian Real Estate Association predicting a strong year for real estate sales in 2014, we felt the need to address a trend we’ve noticed growing at an alarming rate since the end of the 2013 fall real estate market: home buyers skipping their Home Inspection. Due to the aggressive nature of Toronto real estate there has always been a temptation to opt out of the Home Inspection, however the extremely high demand and low supply of homes available this quarter have meant the market has gone from fairly competitive to cutthroat. This, combined with the high price of homes, has translated to more and more buyers waiving their right to a Home Inspection clause.

Even December’s ice storm didn’t slow the Toronto real estate market down. The Globe and Mail reports, “Ms. DeClute [a representative of DeClute Real Estate Inc.] cancelled the open house scheduled for the weekend the ice blasted Toronto, but 32 groups of buyers still made appointments for showings, which they held during daylight hours…Not only were fallen branches surrounding the house, says Ms. DeClute, but many of the streets in the Upper Beaches neighbourhood had fallen trees or power lines blocking access.”* Despite the dangerous weather and difficulties in reaching the property, there were still many individuals vying for the home, which meant that the buyers ended up paying “more than $40,000 above the asking price of $499,000.”* 

Reflecting on December’s real estate transactions, The Globe and Mail noted, “The average price of homes that sold over the Multiple Listing Service in the Toronto area during December was $520,398 up by 8.9 per cent from the average selling price in December 2012. And the average selling price in Toronto for all of 2013 was $523,036, up 5.2 per cent from the average in 2012.”**

Competition and price are the two biggest motivators for buyers to skip the Home Inspection. According to a CBC News article, the 2014 market is expected to feature both - “The Toronto Real Estate Board predicts price growth will continue to exceed inflation in 2014, largely because the demand for low-rise houses continues to far outstrip supply. ‘The seller’s market conditions that drove price growth in the second half of 2013 will remain in place in many parts of the GTA,’ said TREB senior manager of market analysis Jason Mercer.”***

Open HouseWhen buying a home many feel that they are gaining the upper hand in negotiations or saving money by opting out of their Home Inspection. However, in both of these situations, the calculations are way off – you ultimately lose more than you gain. A Home Inspection is a wise investment and can help to alert home buyers to potential problems within the home. When deciding not to have one performed, you run the risk of being ill-informed about your new property, not knowing how much you should budget and for what, and when certain maintenance items will need to be performed.

We recognize that although having a pre-purchase Home Inspection is preferred, due to the constraints of the current real estate climate it’s not always possible to have one completed. However, just because you can’t get a Home Inspection before you buy your home doesn’t mean you should skip it altogether. It may not help you decide whether or not to move forward with the purchase, but it can help you to make good decisions with the next steps you take. Should you renovate the kitchen to widen your breakfast nook? Or should you fix the flashing on your roof first? Our Home Inspectors are available to help you with your home for as long as you own it, so when you start thinking about the feasibility of putting in a back porch, your inspector will be able to give you some advice and information.

A Carson Dunlop Home Inspection and written inspection report help to provide homeowners with the critical information they need. Our inspections include:

  • A summary page with key findings
  • Improvement recommendations for conditions, with time frames and cost estimates
  • Photos and color illustrations for clarity
  • A check for manufacturer recalls on appliances through RecallChek
  • Free enrollment in the Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association

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

House hunting in a competitive market can be hectic and stressful. Our Home Inspections are not, so no more excuses! Let us help welcome you to your new home. Book online or over the phone at 800-268-7070. 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.

*SOURCE: The Globe and Mail, Carolyn Ireland - http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/home-and-garden/real-estate/ice-storm-or-no-the-deal-gets-done/article16252802/
**SOURCE: The Globe and Mail, Tara Perkins - http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/housing/canadian-home-prices-return-to-record-high/article16321649/
***SOURCE: CBC News - http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/real-estate-boom-continues-in-canada-s-largest-cities-1.2485631

Topics: Home Inspection, Market Advice, Home Inspector Advice, Carson Dunlop, Specialty Services

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
**SOURCE: The Toronto Star, Mark Weisleder

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

Topics: Home Inspection, Market Advice, Carson Dunlop