In Metro Vancouver’s heated housing market, many buyers are forgoing home inspections even though it could end up costing them thousands of dollars in the long run.
With four other buyers on his heels, Kevin Girard took a risk, buying a tiny East Vancouver house in October with no subjects and no inspection.
The house later needed $26,000 in repairs to deal with flooding, rat droppings, exposed wiring and asbestos buried in the backyard.
“We knew we were taking a risk,” Girard said. “And it was very personally challenging to feel like I had put my family in this position where we’re moving theoretically into a place that’s dangerous.”
The Home Inspectors Association of BC estimates 75 per cent of Metro Vancouver homes sold in 2015 were inspected before being sold. That number has now plummeted to 10 per cent.
“I think the government should step in,” Vince Burnett of the Home Inspectors Association of BC said. “We’re pushing to have a seven-day cooling-off period. That’s already in place in pre-purchase homes.”
A cooling-off period could give buyers time to get an inspection, if they choose, since property disclosure statements can be unreliable.
“People are deliberately and intentionally not disclosing them or going out of their way to try and conceal some of these defects – especially in this market,” home inspector Darryl Bailey said. “It seems to be a free-for-all. People can get away with whatever they want because there’s no recourse.”
As for Girard, he said he wouldn’t change anything about buying his home without an inspection.
“It’s the only reason we won,” he said of the bidding war so familiar to Metro Vancouver homebuyers. “We wouldn’t have won if we had had a condition.”
– With files from Rumina Daya