Many Realtors and sellers dread what may be uncovered during a home and property inspection. But in most cases, a pre-inspection can be used to your advantage to help sell the home with fewer conditions. Not only can a pre-inspection alert you to issues that can be fixed before the home is listed, but it can also highlight to potential buyers how well the home’s main systems are operating.

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Let’s face it – this hot sellers’ market won’t last forever, so it’s great to have some tools in your back pocket to help sell homes quicker regardless of market conditions.

While inspection reports always offer a list of concerns to be addressed based on urgency – and give context and the ability to ask questions to better understand if something is significant or can be remedied down the road – they also act as a homeowner’s instruction manual for that property. The report is a live document filled with ongoing maintenance information, shut off details, videos, photos, warranty and lifetime appliance safety recall monitoring, and transition warranty for items that were not evident at the time of inspection but pop up on possession, such as a leaky sink or appliance.

All home inspections should disclose the condition of the structure, foundation, plumbing and electrical systems, windows and roofing. An inspector will note previous renovations and detail any problem areas that were possibly patched up but not fully addressed.

A home and property inspection is money well spent. On average, the cost is $500 for a 2,000-square-foot home to be professionally inspected (including infrared/thermal imaging to uncover what the naked eye can’t see) and ensure that big-ticket issues don’t occur down the road that can cost homeowners dearly.

Here’s what an inspector should review during a standard inspection:

  • Structural components (roof, foundation, walls, floors, ceilings, attic checked for water leakage or condensation)
  • Exterior faults (inspection may reveal deteriorated stair treads, settlement cracks or areas where additional caulking is needed)
  • Roofing (examined for loose shingles or tiles, gutter debris, skylights and chimneys checked for proper sealants)
  • Plumbing (piping, drains, vents and waste systems, tested for leakage, mineral deposits, fitting issues or bacteria)
  • Electrical (tested for fit as well as safe and efficient operation, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors noted)
  • Heating/air conditioning (verified in working order, no corrosion on pipes, chimneys sound and clear of debris such as animal nests)
  • Insulation/ventilation (attic crawl space insulation, vapour retarders, venting fans, under floor insulation examined for deterioration)
  • Interior/built-in appliances (doors, floors, stairways, counters, cabinetry and windows, noting any items not functioning properly)

An inspector may also offer add-on specialty services that aren’t part of a standard inspection, such as Wood Energy Technical Transfer (WETT) inspection for woodburning systems, radon testing and water testing.

It’s important to note that buying a new home or one that’s just a few years old doesn’t mean a buyer should forego a home inspection. Issues can turn up with any home regardless of age and the builder’s reputation. There are multiple trades involved in the construction process, including contractors. Like any profession, workers can range from highly professional to completely unreliable. And, in many cases, your buyer won’t know the difference until an experienced home inspector scrutinizes the property. Having a professional inspector examine a new home to ensure the builder got everything right and the buyer can move into their dream home with added peace of mind is invaluable.

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