With competing offers more common in Victoria’s current real estate market, many buyers are choosing to ‘buy blind’ without the typical subject condition protections of building inspections, mortgage financing, title reviews and approvals, insurability confirmations, property disclosure approvals and strata records approvals. Buyers know that many sellers prefer an unconditional (no subject conditions) offer over one that is a bit more money but has buyer subject conditions. Buyer subject conditions may allow buyers to opt-out of their offer within the next 7 days, depending on how the offer is worded.
A typical home inspection does not eliminate the potential for problems with the property, it only reduces the risk. Home inspectors are trained to recognize signs and symptoms of major problems, even though they are not trained professionals in all fields. As a buyer, it would be a good idea to have a qualified inspector in mind ahead of time, and be familiar with their standards of inspection, experience in the field and costs. Speaking with some of their past clients would be a good idea to establish confidence in your chosen home inspector in order to make an educated decision when it comes to purchasing a home. First and foremost though, make sure they carry a valid license.
According to Consumer Protection BC, a home inspector must meet the requirements of at least one professional home inspector association in order to become licensed. Here are a couple of important questions and answers addressed by Consumer Protection BC.
Q. How do you know if a building inspector is licensed?
A. You should ask a home inspector to show you a current licence issued by Consumer Protection BC. You can also submit an inquiry online under the tab “Confirm a Home Inspector’s License”, or call to verify that your home inspector is licensed. The home inspector’s licence number must be shown in all advertisements, on the contract and on the written report.
Q. How does the law relating to building inspectors protect consumers?
A. Home inspectors must keep your home inspection report confidential – not share it with another home buyer or real estate agent without your permission. The law also prohibits conflict of interest, so your home inspection report will be unbiased. Because a home inspector provides vital information that can be critical to the decision to purchase a home, and because these individuals have access to a home and the homeowner’s belongings, Consumer Protection BC will require home inspectors to have criminal record checks. Home inspectors will also be required to have insurance to cover damage or serious errors and omissions.
For more information, visit the Consumer Protection BC website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca and follow the links regarding home inspectors. They also have valuable information on where to make a complaint, along with some great consumer tips to assist you.