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Last modified: 2023-01-03 | Approximate reading time 5 mins
For most, buying a home is the investment of a lifetime. Homes are expensive, and ensuring that the current condition is up to par is a must before making any financial commitments. Although you may find that the house you are planning to buy has some kinks, these can always be fixed.
However, labour is expensive, even more so when it comes to repairs or renovations. Hence the need to have a professional inspect the home before proceeding with the purchase.
Performing home inspections is a specialized profession. Building inspectors thoroughly check homes for latent defects and non-conforming items. Surprisingly, in Quebec, there is no formal training related to this profession.
So, what should you look for prior to signing on the dotted line? And, why is it important to choose a good inspector? Here is a sneak peek at some of the things you need to consider before purchasing your home.
The home inspector's mission is to look for signs of any potential issues to determine the current condition of the home. The Association des Inspecteurs en bâtiment du Québec (AIBQ) defines an inspection as “a visual assessment of all present systems and components that are easily accessible.” Several elements will be examined in detail, including the roof, ceiling, floors, load-bearing walls, foundations, and crawl space.
The inspector will perform a more in-depth inspection, checking for cracks or weep holes, heating and air conditioning systems, electrical systems and plumbing installations. Expect to pay between $500 and $600 for a 1000-square-foot property inspection. To carry out the inspection, set aside two or three hours of your time to tag along with the inspector. Naturally, if the house is bigger or older, the inspection will be more costly because it will take longer. Following the survey, the inspector will have between 7 and 10 days to provide you with a written report.
According to CAA-Quebec, prospective homeowners should hire a licensed home inspector with liability insurance covering errors and omissions and who is also a member in good standing with a relevant professional order.
Orders of professional architects, technologists, and building engineers are intended to protect the general public by regulating professional practices. Still, according to Radio-Canada (article published on January 15, 2017), Quebec does not have a law to legislate building inspections as British Columbia does since 2009, and Alberta since 2011.
That being said, it is up to prospective homeowners to ascertain the inspector's membership with their accredited association and insurance coverage with the company in question. According to CAA Quebec, asking for references is imperative since no “seasoned inspector will object to that request.” These broad guidelines are meant to serve as a reminder to be especially vigilant when choosing an inspector.
Note that for new condominium inspections, the prospective owner is at liberty to choose a competent inspector for their unit. However, for common areas, the condo association must refer to the Ordre des architectes du Québec (OAQ), the Ordre des technologues professionnels du Québec (OTPQ) or the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec (OIQ). Yet again, there is an apparent inconsistency.
For first-time buyers who are unfamiliar with the construction industry, we recommend that you consult the Organisme d'autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec (OACIQ). This organization has a deal with the following building inspector associations:
The AIBQ stresses the fact that residential building inspections are a unique discipline separate from construction, engineering, architecture, real estate appraisal, and municipal inspections.
A home inspection differs from a municipal inspection, the Guarantee Plan for New Residential Buildings, and a pre-acceptance inspection.
While the Quebec government allows you to choose your home inspector, both municipal inspectors and the Régie du bâtiment du Québec (RBQ) conduct unannounced work inspections. These inspectors come to your home to ensure the quality and safety of the installations in the case of renovations, and of newly built structures.
A new home or condo inspection will facilitate your membership process for home insurance, which was mandated by the Quebec government in 1999. The Guarantee Plan for New Residential Buildings protects you in case of unforeseen circumstances when purchasing a new home: postponed handover date, latent defect, serious defect, etc.
The pre-acceptance inspection is a predetermined list of items to check before moving into your new home. It is provided by the contractor and you will have three days to complete the inspection and sign off on it.
Hold on to the original document and give a copy to the contractor who will then be required to complete the work and repair any defects or latent defects on the list. It is best to seek professional advice and set a deadline with the contractor to complete the work.
A proper home inspection can uncover latent defects, such as leaks before any apparent water damage, which could eventually cause minor flooding or cold air infiltration that may lead to higher heating costs. A proper inspection prior to purchasing a home can affect the future resale price or lead to your purchase of another home. After all, purchasing a home is the investment of a lifetime.
Now that you have found your dream home and the inspection went as expected, what is next? The obvious plan is to make the house your own, which might involve some renovation work, so here are some renovation ideas for your new home:
Images: Deposit Photo
Author: René-Maxime Parent
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