Home inspections are an essential part of buying a home. If you are a buyer, it is critical to know that you are purchasing a property in as-is condition unless you explicitly state otherwise in the purchase and sale agreement. While the owner can’t hide or lie about anything, the onus of due diligence about the house’s condition rests with the buyer. With this said, the Toronto market moves incredibly quickly, and, therefore, most sellers voluntarily have a home inspection done before listing their home and share it with prospective buyers. Most of the time, buyers are relying on the seller’s home inspection when making purchasing decisions. In this situation, buyers need to understand what home inspections DO NOT reveal about properties:
Anything behind walls:
Home inspectors will not move or alter anything in the house. They will not inspect anything to which they do not have access. Therefore, if anything is happening behind the drywall, you will likely not know about it. This could include mold from previous floods, remnants of old wiring, or pest infestations.
Home inspectors will not test for the air quality of the home. These tests can take a long time and often need to be sent to labs for proper evaluation. Some issues that can pop up in air quality tests are airborne mold, radon, and off-gassing from UFFI.
Types of mold:
Mold is quite common, especially in old Toronto homes. It should always be dealt with when you find it, but some mold is benign, and some aren’t. Home inspectors can tell you if there is mold present, but you’ll need to send a sample of it to a lab to determine the exact kind of mold it is.
Unless there is water in a basement when the home inspector is there, it can be challenging to predict if a basement tends to leak. Home inspectors can tell you if they see evidence of past water damage, but that does not give you a good picture of the current situation.
Most home inspectors do not test appliances.
Even with the best home inspection, you will always find surprises when you purchase a house. Murphy’s law makes it so that most major issues happen in the first year after a home has transferred ownership. If you are able, try to have a financial cushion for these surprises.
As always, stay safe!
The Kim Kehoe Team