It’s easy for prospective buyers to understand why they need a home inspection when they look at houses for sale. The interior and exterior needs to be checked to make sure everything is sound, and there are no surprises when they move in. No one wants to find out later that their window wells aren’t dug out properly, or their bathroom is leaking.
But it’s easy to forget the necessity of a home inspection when you’re planning a gut renovation. Since homes are so expensive in Canada right now, with few new suburbs being built, especially in Toronto and Vancouver, many prospective buyers have chosen a fixer-upper. They can be cheaper in a desirable neighbourhood and buyers can fashion it to their liking. But doing extensive renovations doesn’t negate the need for a thorough home inspection.
Zoocasa spoke to Terry Carson at Guardian Home Inspectors to find out why.
“Just because a gut renovation will be performed, does not mean the property is risk-free,” he says.
Last year he performed an inspection on a house in downtown Toronto that had a bidding war. The interior obviously needed to be gut renovated. What the prospective homeowners would have missed without Carson, however, was that the underlying foundation also needed major repairs. A complete demolition and rebuild was a better option, but it was beyond the budget of the couple. They ended up walking away. Without that home inspection they would have had some nasty surprises and a ballooning credit card balance ahead of them.
“The greatest danger is that prospective buyers do not recognize the signs of underlying deficiencies,” Carson says.
On the interior, new drywall can cover a multitude of sins that will not be recognized by an unsuspecting buyer, or anyone else, such as old water damage, signs of structural weakness and uninstalled walls. Carson worries that someone will buy homes for sale that need gut renovations, add new finishes that make the house superficially more attractive, but cover up the other problems that will eventually need to be resolved.
“In other words,” he says, “put lipstick on a pig.”
Zoocasa.com is a leading real estate company that combines online search tools and a full-service brokerage to empower Canadians to buy or sell their homes faster, easier and more successfully. Home buyers can browse real estate listings on the website or the free iOS app.
About the OAHI
Through education and advocacy the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors cultivates a thriving home inspection industry based on the highest standards of professional development and ethical standards. In doing so, OAHI cultivates the ‘gold standard’ for home inspectors among consumers and the government. OAHI is the only provincially recognized body of home inspectors by The Ontario Association of Home Inspectors Act, 1994. OAHI is a not-for-profit association.
OAHI member inspectors see homes differently.