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THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF HOME INSPECTIONS

Whether you are buying or selling a house, a home inspection is invaluable to both parties. Most homeowners are aware of the standard pre-purchase inspection, but many do not know the benefits of a pre-listing or pre-offer inspection. 

Pre-Listing Inspection

A pre-listing inspection takes place by the seller prior to putting the property on the market, and has countless benefits for homeowners, realtors, and potential buyers. The valuable information found during this inspection can be used to assess a reasonable value sale price. If issues are found during this inspection, homeowners have time to fix them, which will increase the value of their home.

Knowing your house from top to bottom can facilitate a quicker sale and eliminate the need for re-negotiating. Sharing your findings of this inspection will give potential buyers a good idea of the condition of your home, and can help eliminate conditional offers. Many homeowners will use this report as a marketing tool to sell their home; potential buyers will read the report, consider the potential issues and make an informed decision, resulting in only serious buyers putting in offers.

Pre-Offer Inspection

A pre-offer inspection is done by buyers prior to putting an offer in on a property, and will be as thorough and informative as a pre-purchase inspection. This type of inspection is beneficial for buyers for many reasons, including making their offer more attractive to the sellers. Removing the condition of a home inspection from the offer may speed the purchasing process along. In addition, buyers will be able to make an educated price offer based on the information provided in the inspection.

Pre-Purchase Inspection

Deciding to have a pre-purchase inspection allows potential homeowners to walk through the property with a professional inspector after putting an offer in on the property. The home inspector will provide valuable information so that homeowners can make an educated decision whether they want to continue with the buying process. In addition, the home inspector will explain how your potential new home operates, how to take care of it, and repairs you can anticipate in the future.

Having an objective and comprehensive review of the condition of a property by a qualified, professional inspector is beneficial to both buyers and sellers in all stages of the home buying/selling process. Purchasing a home is one of the biggest financial investments a person will make, however, having all of the essential information provided by a home inspection will make sure you are confident in your decision.

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HOW TO SELECT A HOME INSPECTOR

A home inspection is the first thing you will invest in during the home selling or home buying process. Not all home inspectors are created equal, which is why it is important that you do your homework before selecting one.

When it comes to hiring a home inspector, here are some important questions to ask:

Do they belong to an association?

While joining a home inspection association is a great first step when becoming a home inspector, customers should be aware that inspectors pay a fee to join an association. This means that they don’t necessarily have any other certifications or experience to back it up.

What are their qualifications?

You should make sure that your inspector has their registered home inspector certification (RHI), which ensures they are trained to objectively provide you with a comprehensive analysis of the home, while abiding to a specific code of ethics. Although the Ontario government has passed a bill to licence the industry, it has not yet taken effect and it may be some time before it does. Therefore you must remain diligent in your selection.

When an inspector has relevant trade experience, they bring so much more expertize to the table. Look for someone who not only has their registered home inspector certification, but has more hands-on experience in certain trades, such as electrical, plumbing or roofing.

How long have they been in the business?

The amount of years a home inspector has been in the business reflects highly on the quality of their work. Picking someone who has been trusted by hundreds of home owners and has a great reputation in your community will give you confidence that you can really trust their analysis and recommendations.

How well do they communicate?

Not every home owner has experience in spotting and understanding potential issues in a home. When selecting a home inspector, you should pick one that you feel at ease with and that encourages questions. An expert inspector should take the time to explain how your home operates, how to take care of it, and discusses repairs you can anticipate down the road. Do they share their experience and recommendations in a way that everyone can understand? The answer should be yes! 

Purchasing a home is a major decision, that comes with a huge amount of stress. Most consumers spend weeks, months and even years searching for their dream home, but won’t take much time to consider who will search this home for potential issues. It is imperative to maintain the same standards when it comes to choosing your home inspector, as you do when choosing your new house.

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CARPENTER ANTS

While last month’s newsletter we discussed how to humanely evict bats and raccoons from your property, this month we discover what carpenter ants are really about, and how to deal with them.
 
Like all insects, carpenter ants (Camponotus pennsylvanicus) are cold blooded. They congregate in dead trees and other hidden places during the winter and search for food in the warmer spring and summer months.
 
It’s during this time, as the sun shines through your kitchen window, you’ll notice carpenter ants on your hardwood or linoleum floor. They are red or black ants that vary in length from 6 to 25 mm. They are on a trek for carbohydrate-rich foods.
 
Carpenter ants are omnivorous. They can eat a wide variety of plant and animal foods, including fruits, sweets such as syrup and jam, and meat. Despite what their name implies, they cannot digest wood cellulose like termites.
 
Typically, when a person spots a carpenter ant inside the home, they assume the worst. They fear a swarming, thriving ant colony is breeding within the house. This is rarely the case. Carpenter ants live in hollow trees, logs, landscaping timbers, and soil, and will march hundreds of metres from their colony in search of food.
 
According to Gary Umphrey, an ant expert and mathematics professor at the University of Guelph, there’s a 90% likelihood the ants are only passing through.
 
The 10% exception is homes with decaying wood structures due to an ongoing moisture problem. Carpenter ants will burrow and nest in the moist, decaying wood. Evidence of them nesting in your home may include small holes and trails of sawdust.
 
If these signs of infestation are visible, structural damage may be extreme. You’ll want to contact a Registered Home Inspector for professional advice.
 
To deal with carpenter ants, the federal government’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency recommends correcting humidity issues that may be affecting wood structures, removing sweets, grains and meat products, and carting away firewood that may have transported ants into the house.
 
Other natural and humane ways to keep ants at bay include:
  • sprinkling bay leaves or cayenne pepper near cracks and entry points. Ants hate the scent and will move elsewhere.
  • spray a cleaning solution of vinegar, water, and about ten drops of tea tree oil around your counters and doorway
  • draw chalk lines around your doorways and windowsills. Ants do not like particles sticking to their feet
  • If a colony is well established in the home, various chemical treatments are available (although they are not ecologically friendly or humane).
 
Regardless, you’ll see ants less in the summer months. Ants, like humans, tend to scale back their work activities as the weather gets hotter. In the autumn, as their food stores fill, they become even more scarce before disappearing for the winter.
 

Thanks for reading this month’s newsletter. Hopefully this article shed new light on the unduly maligned carpenter ant. A little understanding about these creatures can save a lot of unnecessary anxiety and expense!
 
Next month we’ll be back with more insights on home ownership. Until then, enjoy the summer.