Hugh Cairns: What’s wrong with the house?

December 26, 2014 7:36 pm

It’s somewhat surprising, but here in BC, during the ritual of home buying, the purchaser often ends up with more information regarding the current condition of the home than the seller does. (Photo: Hugh Cairns)

Hugh Cairns: What’s wrong with the house?

If you’re buying a home it’s now a common practice to include an inspection clause. Not having an inspection conducted can lead a buyer down a very bumpy road. Often, the purchasers of a home are expected to bear the burden of repairs that become necessary, those repairs that are disclosed by the seller, or the ones revealed during a home inspection. But of course, who actually pays for the repairs is often determined by the negotiations, and that’s why most buyers choose to engage a professional realtor.

How old is the roof, is it finished? Do you need a new hot water heater? Does the home have termites or carpenter ants?

It’s somewhat surprising, but here in BC, during the ritual of home buying, the purchaser often ends up with more information regarding the current condition of the home than the seller does. In our jurisdiction, once the seller accepts a purchase offer for the home, its game on for the purchaser to investigate and determine its condition and gather as much information about the home as possible. Usually, in a very short period of time. Sounds kind of backwards doesn’t it?

In some countries its common practice to conduct an inspection before the purchaser puts an offer on the house. That makes sense. In fact, there are countries that require home information packages to be compiled and offered to prospective buyers. Imagine going to buy a house and have a binder full of relevant information right there upfront to have a gander at. Some packages include home inspection reports, energy efficiency assessments, pest management reports, appraisals, disclosures, surveys, title certificates and a host of current equipment maintenance and evaluation reports. Sounds like a dream.

So why don’t we sell our homes like they do elsewhere? One of my realtor friends stated the obvious – people are reluctant to spend money upfront to sell their homes. That includes listing a home for sale. It is expected by the seller that the listing agent will pay for all of the marketing, open houses and showings whether it be in time or money – no matter what the outcome of the listing.

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