When you’re buying a $350,000 house, the $400 you drop on a home inspection is a relatively small investment to ensure that everything is as it should be.
The thing about home inspectors is that they don’t unfortunately have x-ray vision. So it sometimes happens that they may miss the fact that the basement leaks during heavy downpours especially if their evaluation was done on a sunny day. Let’s face it, given that the inspection is based on what you can see, even the best assessor is going to problem areas.
Some prefer a Seller Property Information Statement. Simply put, this is a disclosure from the seller that spells out all the issues – both good and bad – that they know to exist in their home. If you think about it, doesn’t it make more sense to have someone who’s lived in the house for years disclose problems or potential problems as opposed to someone who’s looked at it for two or three hours?
The Seller Property Information Statement, otherwise known as SPIS, is optional. Typically it is filled out by the seller at the time of a new listing. It’s been said buyers love them, sellers fear them and lawyers say no to them. In Canada, since the inception of the SPIS form practice in 1997, there have been over 230 court cases.
Sellers are not required to fill them out, My thinking is it protects vendors from down-the-road lawsuits if they’re being honest and forthright. After a property sells and changes hands, the SPIS protects the seller should something occur at that point that the new owner might try to pin on the seller. By filling out a SPIS it also demonstrates to buyers that the seller has integrity and nothing to hide as they are willing to disclose defects or issues.
The SPIS is a three-page document that covers questions regarding zoning, taxes and encroachments. Questions are asked about soil contamination, flooding, oil tanks and grow houses. Other questions focus on moisture problems, types of insulation and renovations or addition made to the house.
I’m not suggesting buyers disregard home inspections. But if you know houses and have bought and sold a few in your time, you can probably uncover the same that a home inspector would so save the inspection fee for a rainy day.
Home inspectors are especially useful for first-time home buyers, who know little about the process. A home inspection can help calm the nerves of a buyer who has no idea what shape the roof is in, where the water shutoff is or how to replace a furnace filter.
Rob Golfi of The Golfi Team is a Sales Representative with Remax Escarpment Realty Inc, your real estate expert servicing the Hamilton, Stoney Creek, Grimsby and surrounding areas. You can contact Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org