Home Inspections – What Home Buyers Need to Know

Recently, a local Realtor and Home Inspector have been in the news as a Buyer has claimed that they have bought an “unlivable” home (full CBC News Story here) and the aggrieved Buyer is claiming against the Realtor and Home Inspector in small claims court.  From my reading of the story and documents (as presented by CBC) there are obviously some salient points that have been downplayed or glossed over:

a)      The Buyer bought the home “sight unseen”

b)      The Home Inspection (as posted by CBC) noted:

  1. Damaged, rotten windows with moisture damage
  2. Old galvanized piping
  3. The house was 80+ years old
  4. The home inspector was unable to access the crawl space
  5. Major cracking in the ceiling
  6. Damaged sinks and freeze vulnerable piping
  7. Missing baseboard heaters
  8. Major electrical issues requiring further inspection

So the question that comes to my legal mind given these facts is “would a reasonable person think they were buying a home without major flaws?”. Obviously there are many more facts to this story which will be uncovered in the course of the court proceedings on this matter.

Whenever I discuss home inspections with Buyers I always stress that home inspections are like going to see a doctor at a walk-in clinic; Home Inspectors are generalists, they have a broad base of knowledge, but they are not specialists. The take home message for Realtors is that if there are “issues” that are discovered in a home inspection, Realtors should ensure that their clients are directed toward professionals (plumbers, engineers, roofers, ect…) who are in the best position to assess the magnitude of the problem and provide a realistic cost of repair.

home inspection

5 thoughts on “Home Inspections – What Home Buyers Need to Know

  1. I looked at the pictures to see how they could be complaining that they could not stand up in the bedrooms. It is a 1.5 story house and the photos clearly show the pitch of the ceiling in the rooms so I don’t know how that could have been any surprise at all to the buyers. We recently sold a house on the same street for about 20% less and the home was purchased for lot value only. I am thinking the buyers were very naive about the price of homes in our marketplace. This CBC article gives the real estate industry an undeserved black eye.

    • I certainly hope the Realtor gave the buyer all relevant information regarding the market data and advised the buyer about the amount of the offer. The Realtor’s interest should be aligned with the buyer’s interest and hopefully the advice given is well documented. In a situation of “site unseen” compounded with the inspection report, the Realtor should have seen the red flags that could result in litigation and therefore document every conversation, assuming they were advising the buyer well. If the buyer disregarded good advice, the realtor should protect themselves within the offer. Otherwise, I have no sympathy for the Realtor.

  2. Pingback: Kelowna Real Estate : Buyer's Remorse - A Recent Kelowna Story

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