When the time comes for a purchase as important as a house, a condominium or any other building, we should take the time to find the right building wisely.
During this acquisition process, thepre-purchase inspection is very useful for knowing the general condition of a building. Indeed, the building inspector identifies the major apparent defects which were perceptible to the eye on the day of the visit (visual inspection).
The pre-purchase inspection is not an inspection for compliance with various Codes or standards. It is a general inspection and not an expertise. In his pre-purchase report, the building expert indicates the order of seriousness of the deficiencies and mentions the maintenance work and urgent repairs to be done.
Seller's legal warranty
The legislator has provided, in the Civil Code of Québec (1726 article), a legal warranty of the seller which aims to protect the buyers of potential hidden defects.
In order for this guarantee to be presented to the courts, in the event of latent defects, the purchaser must demonstrate that he has, before the purchase, acted with prudence and diligence. Even if the pre-purchase inspection is not not mandatory in Quebec, it is strongly recommended because it facilitates legal recourse if a hidden defect is discovered.
Pre-purchase inspector must also be diligent and notify the buyer of all apparent defects detected during the examination and may represent a risk of hidden defects.
According to the judgment of the Court of Appeal of Quebec Préseault c. Inspec-Tech Inc.:
The responsibility of a pre-purchase inspector may also be retained if he does not mention an apparent defect that he "... saw or should have seen and interpreted. »(Law firm Azran & Associates).
Tips for future buyers
Here are some tips for future buyers to avoid some of the pitfalls of buying a building:
Engage an expert for the pre-purchase (building inspector)
To avoid multiple problems, it is recommended to hire a qualified building inspector, that is to say, who has the necessary knowledge and experience in the field of construction, such as an engineer, an architect, professional technologist or building inspector.
Knowledge of pre-purchase inspection standards
This expert must have good knowledge of building standards and good practice. He must also master the standards of practice of the pre-purchase inspection, such as those of the Order of Professional Technologists of Quebec (OTPQ) and Quebec building inspectors (AIBQ).
Accompany the expert during the inspection
The prospective purchaser should accompany the building inspector throughout the inspection. It is important that he listens carefully and asks him any questions he deems relevant to the inspection. The latter can last several hours (about 2 hours for a typical bungalow).
To be able to accompany the inspector on the roof, in the crawl space or in the attic, it is better that the buyer dresses with comfortable clothes and that he avoids the attire of city.
Being on site during the inspection
The fact of accompanying the inspector makes all the difference, because the buyer thus takes knowledge of the building components and the location of essential elements such as the main water inlet, the electrical panel, etc.
The exercise makes it possible to clearly visualize where the deficiencies found in the report are and to understand the seriousness of these deficiencies and the nature of the expertise recommended.
In short, it is preferable that the prospective purchaser is always with the inspector, during the inspection, to have a good idea of the current state of the building because the inspector will inform him of the visible deficiencies and the the magnitude of the latter in relation to the budget and occupant safety. In addition, the inspector warns the buyer of the possibility of the existence of problems whose symptoms are apparent.
Have a copy of the seller's statement
The buyer must have with him a copy of the declaration of the seller to verify and locate, with the inspector, deficiencies or modifications (or others) declared by the seller.
At the end of the inspection, the buyer should already have a good idea about the following:
- The components and materials of the coveted house;
- Minor deficiencies to correct;
- Security deficiencies that must be corrected immediately;
- Major deficiencies that require replacement of components such as the roof or the French drain;
- Improvements to the building;
- The expertises recommended for certain problems that the inspector deems important. He suggests consulting an expert as a master plumber, an electrician, a structural engineer, a general contractor, etc.
- The general condition of the building.
Read and understand the pre-purchase inspection report
The purchaser must obtain the written report from the home inspector within the prescribed period before the counter-offer has expired. It would be prudent for the potential buyer to read the report carefully and seek help from a third party, if necessary, to fully understand the contents of the report and ask questions to the home inspector. he needs more details.
Consider specific expertise
If necessary, the buyer will have to choose professionals (electrician, plumber, structural engineer, etc.) to carry out the in-depth appraisals recommended by the expert for the pre-purchase, for example a structural engineer to check a crack or an expert to examine the French drain using a camera.
Prioritize and prioritize future work
After this step, the buyer prepares a list of repairs and replacements according to priority. He then solicits some contractors for major replacements, repairs and improvements based on the urgency and importance of the work to be done.
Take stock: buy or not?
Usually, after all this process, the buyer starts to get a good idea of the value of the property. He is then in a better position to judge whether this investment really suits him and to establish a budget for urgent repairs and major replacements to come.
Many buyers discover deficiencies in their property many years after purchase. They then begin pursuit in hidden vice. However, by rereading the reports of pre-purchase inspectors, building professionals note that these deficiencies were clearly identified and were the subject of recommendations for in-depth expertise.
However, in many cases, the buyer has not been aware of these deficiencies and the expertise recommended. If he had read his pre-purchase report and followed the recommendations proposed by the pre-purchase inspector, he would have avoided unpleasant surprises and unforeseen expenses.
When the buyer ignores the recommendations of the building inspector about an expertise to be performed in relation to a deficiency observed during the pre-purchase inspection, then he risks annihilating his chances of winning his case in hidden vice . Unfortunately, corrective work can reach considerable sums.
Our last recommendation is: if in doubt, ask your building inspector and he will take the time to answer your questions.