Home inspection can save a lot of grief

There’s an increasing sense of urgency for people looking at real estate of late.

There’s an increasing sense of urgency for people looking at real estate of late.

News stories abound about the hot housing market, which has spread from notoriously pricey Vancouver and environs to Victoria, Nanaimo and other Vancouver Island communities.

Spring and summer tend to be good months for homes to sell, compared to a slower winter market, but even that longtime trend doesn’t fully tell the story of how quickly homes seem to be changing hands.

Anecdotally, here in Cowichan, one can see just by driving down the roadways that properties aren’t staying on the market that long. A real estate sign goes up and it doesn’t tend to be long before a ‘sold’ sticker has been mounted to it.

We’re not quite yet looking at some of the rather insane bidding wars that are increasingly characterizing the market in desirable areas of Victoria such as Oak Bay, or have driven prices skyward for years in Vancouver.

Such bidding wars have pushed prospective bidders to, in some cases, engage in risky buying practices, such as not getting a home inspection before the purchase goes through.

In spite of the continuing red-hot market in Vancouver, at least one home inspector was quoted this week in a CBC story saying he’s actually had a significant drop in business over the last year, as people are too afraid to attach any kind of condition to their purchase offer for fear of putting themselves out of the running.

It’s something we hope not to see here.

Getting an inspection from a reputable professional can end up saving a buyer a lot of grief.

And a lot of money.

In the worst case scenario, you could wind up with a home with serious deficiencies that you could be on the hook to pay for.

Everything from the roof to the furnace, the foundation to the wiring are key elements that most laypeople wouldn’t necessarily even notice.

While you’re worried about paint colours and the possibility of putting in new hardwood, your home inspector really gets down to the nuts and bolts of how the house is built.

There are limitations, of course, as nobody can start opening up walls and ceilings, but a good inspector will notice things that the average home buyer would walk right past.

So while you want to get in there and lock up the house of your dreams, remember to take a deep breath and not get so caught up in the moment that you do something you’ll regret later.