In 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?
Your 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.