You have finally found the house of your dreams. It looks good. From what you can see you’ll just paint your accent wall in the living area in brick orange, upgrade the landscaping, modernize the windows and repaint the exterior and you are good to go. But, wait a minute. Look a little closer. I bet you didn’t notice the remnants of a termite trail which the previous owner hurriedly wiped away from the bottom of the kitchen cupboards. Look again! The current plumbing comprises old galvanize pipes. And, if you just take one more walk through on a rainy day you’ll realize that the foundation of the house was never properly waterproofed and water seeps through the walls into the basement every time it rains.
These are the deficiencies that can befall many a buyer if they fail to thoroughly inspect their desired property before signing the dotted line. It happens time and time again and once those deeds change hands there is no recourse. It is now yours, your responsibility, your problem, and possibly your money pit.
In the USA, a home inspection is part of the purchase process. The inspector is required ethically and legally to report all defects discovered during his inspection. This can significantly impact on the final negotiation process or even whether the buyer opts out of the transaction altogether. Home inspections are not mandated here. The onus is therefore on the prospective buyer to be thorough and attentive. Do not let what you see on the surface fool you. Engage in the services of a professional builder or contractor. They can see past the superficial and readily identify the underlying flaws which might be waiting to trap you in a sea of debt and make you resent your new acquisition.
Recently one of my clients was looking forward to closing the deal on purchasing the home she had rented for the last 3 years. It seemed in relatively good shape when she moved in but over time all of its shortcomings became apparent. Some of the doors dragged on the tiles, which suggests that the tiles might be raised due to moisture underneath as a result of a water logging issue. The roof leaks at areas where silicone would have been applied previously so there was no issue before, but now the silicone has become worn. In some areas under the leaks, the wooden floor is now starting to creak. She has luckily evidenced the degradation of the property over a period of time while living there, but imagine if another clueless buyer submitted an offer to purchase the property based on a simple walk through. They may have been none the wiser of the associated defects and imperfections and could have been saddled with unforeseen debt in the long run.
Conduct your due diligence or end up totally detesting the very investment you thought would add to your happiness.
You’ve been warned! Beware!