NO matter how desperately you want to buy waterfront in Vancouver, always get a Home Inspection! (even if you are in a multiple offer situation buying waterfront-unless you are going to tear the house down)
A recent article in the Vancouver Sun emphasized the importance of a home inspection. It suggested that if you are buying, selling or renovating a property a home inspection can save you time, money and grief. While I agree with doing an inspection for all buyers (except in very rare situations) I am not sure I would agree it is necessary before renovating or selling-unless you have owned the home for a very long time. Although I guess I can see why the article advocated this: certified home inspectors examine a property's overall structure including major systems and components to determine how one component may affect the operability of another.... This could assist in determining the feasibility of various renovations but even where a seller provides an inspection report, I would still advise my buyers to hire their own inspector.
Recently (ok-that "recently" covers the last 2 years), I have been trying to purchase a waterfront home for myself (obviously I should have never sold my last one). The last 2 homes I was interested in went to multiple offers.....fortunately on the first one, I had an inspection before offering as it turned out the house needed around $300,000 work just to make it safe and then it would need to be gutted-no thanks!
If you are purchasing a property a home inspection can give you important information on the home's condition that can help you make an informed decision and avoid unexpected repair costs. Waterfront homes, depending on the construction, can have a lot of issues develop over time. If a home inspection identifies problems before a sale you can usually (okay-maybe usually is an overstatement in this market) negotiate the costs into the final purchase or have the seller do the repairs prior to purchase - either way you're saving money!
If you are selling a home some people think that a listing inspection can help you sell faster.... I personally don't really agree with this as I don't think it is advisable to rely on the seller's inspector. If you are going to renovate your home a home inspection can help prioritize repairs and maintenance and as I mentioned above, may identify situations where a particular renovation may not work. Of course it is always key to ensure that your inspector is reputable-this can sometimes be difficult; we keep a list of a few inspectors that we have used frequently and that our clients have liked (I have also used 2 of them on my own homes so I know how they work!). The Sun article that prompted this blog cautions that you should make sure you select a certified home inspector that will not use the inspection to solicit repair work.....I have never seen this happen but I guess it does sometimes!
For more information on home inspections and the names of qualified inspectors in your area check out www.cahpi.bc.ca
(this blog is based on an article from The Vancouver Sun, May 3/07)