Home inspections are an essential part of the home-buying process in Canada. They provide buyers with a comprehensive assessment of a property’s condition, identifying any issues or defects that may not be immediately apparent. The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the frequency of home inspections in Canada, with physical distancing measures and safety concerns leading to declining inspections. However, as restrictions eased and the housing market rebounded, demand for home inspections increased as buyers sought to make informed decisions about their potential homes.

Why Home Inspections Decreased

In the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, sellers had a significant upper hand in the housing market. This led to a hot market filled with bidding wars and waived conditions to give offers a competitive edge. Home inspectors had to adapt to new protocols to ensure their and their client’s safety during inspections. Some buyers and sellers also delayed or cancelled home inspections due to uncertainty and economic concerns.

When the market was at its peak, it was common for home inspectors to be hired after purchasing a home. Sometimes, the decision to delay the home inspection led to disaster for new homeowners, as inspectors could find significant damage or other issues with the house. Getting a home inspection is important because it gives buying power to consumers.

Taking Back Power with Home Inspections

With the rising interest rates and current market conditions, more buyers are taking advantage of the opportunity to employ a home inspector to be sure of what they are purchasing. Without the bidding wars and waived conditions experienced during 2020 and 2021, buyers are not pressured to bypass a home inspection to beat the competition.

While the quieting housing market has led to more buyers getting home inspections, the tough times have been felt by independent inspectors and small companies. Some have been affected so much that they have decided to retire early or quit and work elsewhere. As the housing market continues to recover, home inspectors are hopeful for the future of their careers.

Home Inspection Alternatives for Frugal Buyers

There is no getting around the fact that home inspections are expensive and need to be built into the budget when buying a home. However, while official home inspections by certified professionals are highly recommended, some alternatives can help you gain some insight into the condition of a home if a home inspection is not possible:

Virtual Inspection – A virtual home inspection is a remote inspection of a property using video conferencing technology. This type of inspection can be helpful for buyers who cannot attend an in-person inspection or properties located in different cities or countries. During a virtual inspection, a certified inspector can guide the buyer through the property and identify any issues or concerns while answering questions in real time.

Self-Inspection – A self-inspection is an inspection of a property conducted by the buyer. This type of inspection can be helpful for buyers who want to assess a property’s condition before making an offer but cannot hire a professional inspector. During a self-inspection, the buyer can use a checklist to identify potential issues or areas of concern, such as water damage, mould, or structural damage.

Contractor Inspection – A contractor home inspection is an inspection of specific systems or areas of a property conducted by a specialist or contractor. This type of inspection can be helpful for buyers who want to assess the condition of specific areas, such as the roof, plumbing, or electrical systems. During a contractor inspection, the specialist will evaluate the area of concern and provide a report detailing any issues or concerns.

Disclosure Statement – A Property Condition Disclosure Statement (PCDS) is a document provided by the seller of a property that discloses any known issues or defects with the property. This document can be a valuable source of information for buyers, as it can alert them to potential problems or concerns before making an offer. Disclosure statements can include information about the property’s history, renovations or repairs that have been made, and any current issues or concerns. While disclosure statements are not always required by law, they are often encouraged to help ensure transparency and honesty in real estate transactions. Many provincial or regional real estate boards require a PCDS to be completed prior to listing.

Professional Home Inspections

While these alternatives can provide some insight into the condition of a property, they are not a replacement for a professional home inspection. In the current market, hiring a home inspector can give you leverage and peace of mind when considering a potential home. A certified inspector can provide a comprehensive inspection that covers all areas of the property and identifies potential issues that may not be immediately visible.

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