Getting a home inspection
So, after making a conditional offer, which was accepted, we had to get to work meeting the conditions of the offer!
Because we'd gotten a mortgage pre-approval, we already knew we could secure the needed amount, so meeting the financial conditions were as simple as emailing Ann, our mortgage broker, and providing a copy of the MLS listing, the agreement, and any other supporting documents.
As for our second condition, we knew from the beginning of our hunt that we'd want to do a home inspection. It's not legally necessary, and, in a competitive situation, people often go without it in order to strengthen their offer. It's also another expense in an already costly process.
But, it's also a great way to get a handle on the current condition of the home, the life expectancy of major elements, such as the furnace and roof, and any serious issues that could even prevent you from buying the property.
Mr. Speedy and I definitely didn't feel comfortable relying on our very, very limited knowledge of home construction, termites, electrical and plumbing systems (to name just a few aspects) in order to decide whether the house was a sound investment.
So we asked around for recommendations and booked an appointment. The inspection lasted roughly three hours, during which time our inspector, Richard, examined the roof, deck and exterior elements as well as the interior and all of the mechanical systems.
By the end of the inspection, I had a pretty good idea of the home's condition, which was augmented by an 11-page report with the full details and cost estimates.
There were some nice surprises, such as a double brick wall between us and the neighbouring semi, and one not so nice one: a lot more knob and tube wiring than we'd been told to expect. (Knob and tube is an outdated electrical system, which isn't grounded, and it's becoming increasingly tricky to insure.)
This was not good news. Mr. Speedy and I weren't looking for a big project, and the quantity of knob and tube in the home definitely warranted almost immediate, and large scale, repairs. Our insurer could also require us to fix it within months of moving in. With all the other costs of buying a home, from the downpayment and closing costs to moving fees and new furniture, it could put a pretty serious dent in our already depleted pocketbooks.
Basically, we got spooked. Which led to a lot of discussions, and a few more sleepless nights.
I sent out emails and phone calls to family, friends and the Twitterverse trying to figure our just how bad it could be. Mr. Speedy and I talked a lot, trying to decide if an electrical overhaul would be enough to make us walk away from the house, and the deal. It was really tough.
Because the home was otherwise in good shape, we decided to move forward, but see if we could knock the purchase price down because of the unexpected repairs. So, back we went to negotiations ...
Photo: Yours truly and home inspector Richard J. Gaughan (of National Home Inspection Ltd.) at our inspection. Here, well, to be honest we're actually posing for the photographer. But we are re-creating a moment when he was explaining some needed roof repairs. (Photo by Paul Irish/Toronto Star)
Catch up on the home hunt: