One of your rights as a Buyer when purchasing property is to ask that the sale be conditional on a home inspection. Of course, it’s also the right of the Seller not to agree to this as part of the negotiation but it’s rare for that to happen. Afterall, it’ll send up red flags. So what happens if the inspection report is unsatisfactory? The typical answer you will hear is “you get your deposit back automatically”. Well, here’s what could happen.
First, a quick definition of what a home inspector’s job is. A qualified home inspector will examine and point out issues with a home that could be of concern to the new home owner. They won’t break open walls or rip up flooring or move furniture to find any hidden issues but for the most part they do a very good job of gathering evidence for potential big problems now or down the road. With an average cost of a home inspection $350 – $500 it is well worth it considering the average home prices in Toronto, Etobicoke, and the rest of the GTA.
I always prepare my Buyers and let them know that there are minor issues with every home, even a home that was built recently. The goal of the home inspection is to find major items that we can’t determine on our own. Mold in the attic? We can ask for money back or get out of the deal. A window that sticks? That’s not the greatest reason to back out even though the clause I put into the agreement supports you.
So let’s say the home inspector finds an issue with the home. The standard clause for a home inspection will state:
“This Offer is conditional upon the inspection of the subject property by a home inspector at the Buyer’s own expense, and the obtaining of a report satisfactory to the Buyer in the Buyer’s sole and absolute discretion. Unless the Buyer gives notice in writing delivered to the Seller personally or in accordance with any other provisions for the delivery of notice in this Agreement of Purchase and Sale or any Schedule thereto not later than X p.m. on XXXX, that this condition is fulfilled, this Offer shall be null and void and the deposit shall be returned to the Buyer in full without deduction.”
So technically, the deposit should be returned to the Buyer if he doesn’t like any aspect of the report, even a “stuck window”. A problem could arise if the Seller wants to know why the home inspection wasn’t satisfactory and refuses to sign the mutual release for the deposit to be returned to the Buyer unless he sees the report. A report that states that the only issue is “the window in the kitchen sticks” could upset the Seller and potentially require a court-order to get the deposit back. This doesn’t happen often, but it could. That’s the cold hard truth.
So what if a major issue was found? I would recommend a reduction in the purchase price or that you walk. I recently reduced the purchase price of a home a further $15,000 because there was an issue with the slope of a driveway. The Buyer never did fix the issue and used the money to reduce his mortgage.
So what if a minor issue was found? Consider yourself lucky that there aren’t major issues and enjoy your new home!
Call Richard at 416-277-8025 if you would like help in purchasing or selling your new home. Remember the price for Buyer Representation is always zero!