Homebuyers, use a BC licensed Home inspector or do it yourself!
Barry Artiste Op/Ed
Seems the BC Government wants to legitimize the Home Inspection Industry, with their own brand of training programs.
Yeah, the same BC Government and their Government and Municipal Inspectors who brought us the Billion Dollar plus leaky Condo fiasco costing Taxpayers Billions over the last 2 decades, because it was also They, the government who failed to properly inspect newly built condos and homes, now wants to enforce a licencing and training program for private building inspectors?
What they are going to train them? Boy that will be a ClusterF**k waiting to happen! Many Citizens see this as a Licencing Tax Grab in a Corrupt industry.
Do you think Realtors will tell you the truth? Yeah, sure and All Politicians and Car Dealers, and Lawyers are honest and have your best interests at heart! Boy, time to wake up Homebuyers!
Did you know, sometimes an Older home is a better deal than an New Home.
The older home usually has the best old world craftsmen building materials used in it, when Quality Workmanship was the Standard. As well all the building materials are pretty much natural environmentally friendly materials, and if not, the manufactured building materials have off gassed decades ago of all its volatile chemicals and cancer producing carcinogens, versus New Homes which have not off gassed or use inferior building materials in my opinion.
Many Home builders today start a numbered company and once the home is built, close the company and start a new company under a new name and number. Many believe this is a ploy to get out of paying out warranty related issues a new home buyer may face when looking for someone to pay for defects in their new home!
Best look for established Builders who have been in business for at least a decade, and even then ask for references, better business bureau and check the internet for any legal issues with the home builder.
Homebuyers need to know to ask the right questions, and any answers they get from Homeowners and Realtors must be notarized and in writing, before you set foot in any home you are looking to buy, failure to take my advice, well you are on your own.
You don't need no stinkin course in Home Inspection if you have a half a brain, you can go most of the visual inspection yourself, or pay upwards to a $1,000 dollars for a real comprehensive home inspection, not those useless $125.00 $250.00 deals you read about.
Christ for the cheap price, you may as well get your Know it all Brother in Law to do the Home Inspection for you, cause his advice will be just as valid as most Building Inspectors!
A grand is peanuts considering homes in BC cost about 1 million dollars plus in the lowermainland of BC. This is not the time to count pennies, you get what you pay for!
DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES BELIEVE YOUR REALTOR!! EVER! UNLESS THEY PUT IT ALL IN WRITING AND NOTARIZE IT with a Professional Engineers Report!
The old Realtor line of well the Homeowner told me it was in Great Condition doesn't Wash! That is the Realtor's Mantra everytime to get themselves off the hook.
Make an agreement with the Homeowner, that if the home is such great condition, they should have no problem footing the Home inspection bill in advance. Why? Because then the Homeowner can back his claims with a valid Home Inspection report and tack on the cost of the report to the cost of the home.
If the Homeowner refuses, "Run Forrest Run", you are being scammed cause the homeowner who claims the home is in great shape has no legitiamate clue what condition their home is in.
So before you enter the foray into homebuying, do the following first....Virtually everything I list below can be laboratory or engineered tested for by professional environmental companies all over the world
Below is my advice you need to follow verbatim, which pertains to virtually every house in the world:
Was the home ever used as a Illegal Drug Lab?
- Cause Deadly chemicals will be a Health concern, not to mention Criminals may make a visit in the middle of the night looking for drugs or money believing it still is!
- Most Municipalites who have busted homes for illegal drugs, have a database in which to inform homebuyer who upon request, if the home was ever used as a Drug Lab.
- Most banks want proof from the Realtor or Homeowner that the home was never used as a drug lab. Especially in British Columbia, where currently 18,000 drug labs are known to exist in 2009 in residential homes. We just do not have the manpower to bust them all.
Does the home contain Asbestos?
- Television Home and Restaurant Makeover shows as well as Home Renovation Stores who mindlessly tell Women "Empower yourself" you can tackle your own Home renovations. My reason? Well pretty much any renovations featured on these shows are on pre 1980 homes.
- It is a fact that 90-95% of all pre 1980 buildings throughout North America contains asbestos in ceiling textures, drywall taping compounds, vinyl sheet flooring and floor tiles, as well as some asbestos containing vermiculite wall and attic insulation, asbestos window putty and mastics, asbestos furnace ducting wrap and the list goes on.
- If the home was built before 1980 in North America and before 2000 in Europe, get a Hazardous Materials Survey to determine where asbestos containing materials are in the home. Cost about $300 (3 samples) -$1,000.00 dollars (10 samples). Around $45.00 per sample!
Get your Drinking Water tested for Lead, Chemicals, Biological, including Feces Why?
- Homes built before 1980 most likely contain lead solder in the homes plumbing. Chemical test will show if an Illegal drug lab was present.
- Do a visual inspection throughout the house, check the attic and look at the underside of the attics sheathing. Not sure? Get a Mold Air Spore test for inside the home and the attic, include PDA and SPC swabs for the attic and home, bacteria can be just as bad too.
- If you notice mold on walls, question where it came from, inside the walls or sloppy housekeeping. Though mold is everywhere outside, some molds are not.
- Invest in a 30 dollar moisture meter and check all the exterior walls, check above and below every window sill ceiling as exterior water intrusion is likely to occur here.
Drywall or plaster Is everything freshly painted?
- Take a flashlight, turn off all lights in each room and scan the flashlight along the side of the wall and look for uneveness or patches which may indicate previous repairs, Why was it repaired?
- If you notice circles in the wall or ceiling the size of dinner plates. Walk away from the home, it was a drug lab! Period, the dinner plate holes indicate ducting for venting illegal chemicals.
- Oh yeah, call your municipality and inform them of your findings, so they can also investigate and Tag the House as a previous Drug Lab, in order to protect the next unsuspecting Homebuyer.
- Homes built before 1980 may contain Lead Paint, certainly a concern if you ever sand it to apply a coat of fresh paint.
- Best let a Environmental Consultant take a few samples to test for Lead Paint, inside and outside the home.
- Invest in a $30 dollar circuit tester to plug into electrical outlets, this device will show if the electrical circuits are operational and some of the more expensive testers, tell you if the electrical is in phase, important if you ever want to protect your electronics.
- If the property slopes away from the home and does not pool water around the base of the home, that could indicate it is less likely you have a leaky basement and the drain tiles around the home is in good condition. Best get an experienced contractor to check it out, if you do not have the expertise.
- Ask the homeowner for all utility records for the last year, this will show you how much energy the furnace, water heater, and electrical uses.
Electrical outlets, lighting and appliances
- Do the outlets have three prong outlets? If so go to the electrical panel and see if it is in good condition, look to see if it is a minimum 100 amp service, anything lower than that you will be blowing breakers as many have a ton of appliances and electronics and will overload the electrical system.
- Do the bathrooms have outlets with GFIs, so if you drop your hairdryer in the sink with water it will trip the breaker and not kill you!
- Do the Fluorescent Lights contain PCB'S in the Ballasts? If they do not, the ballasts will say NO PCBS. Though not a big deal if they are in good condition, disposing of them may cost you a few dollars.
- Mercury Thermostats. Some older thermostats from the 1970s may contain an ampule of mercury. Not a concern if in good condition, but if it breaks, mercury vapour can be deadly to you and the family, and a bitch to clean up by environmental HAZMAT contractors, It is wise to replace your thermostat with a modern efficient one. Disposal issues with mercury a few bucks.
- Check the furnace manufacturing date, check to see if any tags show the furnace is maintained yearly by a heating company!
- Check the furnace ductwork by lifting the floor grilles throughout the home and insert a digital camera inside to take photos, look at the photos and see if the ductwork is clean and in good condition.
Outside of the Home
- Do a walk around and check the exterior, if a brick home, look closely at the brick and mortar for cracks and uniformity of the brick to determine sagging or previous repairs.
- If the home has wood siding or Stucco, Plaster etc, try and determine the manufacturer of the siding, check the condition, check the website for any claims against the manufacturer of the siding to see if any lawsuits are pending.
- Stand out in the street, Digital Camera in hand and take lots of photos, download em on the computer and enlarge the photos to visually check the condition of the chimney, roof, eaves, siding, windows etc.
- Notice staining anywhere?
Septic System and Septic Field
- Best to leave this to a Soils or Hydrologist engineer, to check the condition of the septic tank, soils and weeping tiles if the property is not on a city sewer system.
Plants on the property
- Some trees like Weeping Willows may look pretty, but they have a long root system which may impact your drainage, or basement walls, which may leak.
- Look for hardwood trees or trees which do not have long roots, and roots which go down instead of across your yard just under the surface.
- Go to the internet and look for any and all FREE information on home inspection.
- Watch Home Reno and Home buying, Home inspection shows to get info and ideas, before making the biggest investment of your life.
- Remember, you get what you pay for!
Now you know the "Real Deal" on what to look for when Homebuying, I hope this helps, as I have covered the major issues Homebuyers should look for.
Courtesy of Barry Artiste
British Columbia will become the first province to license home inspectors, Solicitor General John van Dongen says.
Home inspector training in B.C. has been voluntary until now, but proper qualifications and licensing will be mandatory starting March 31.
There are an estimated 300 to 400 home inspectors operating in the province, and homebuyers have no way of knowing if their home inspector is qualified.