Advice from Mike Holmes on buying a new home: ‘remove the guesswork’
Mike Holmes is out with a new HGTV Canada series called Buy it Right that aims to arm Canadians with the information they need before putting a down payment on a new home.
The series follows Holmes as he revisits three houses each episode, in different parts of the country, along with the home buyers.
Global News spoke to Holmes ahead of the premier of Buy it Right for advice on how to spot any big problems before purchasing a home and the top things to consider when selecting a home inspector.
LISTEN: Mike Holmes with advice for new home buyers
What to look for in a home inspector
Holmes said you should be on the hunt for the best inspector before even scheduling a viewing of a home. He said it’s a common mistake to find a house first and hire an inspector afterward to assess the home.
He said an adequate home inspector should cost on average $400, but adds home buyers should be willing to pay more for better service.
“Put your money in the right place each and every time and it will gain, and it will come back to you,” he said.
“Don’t be afraid to spend money.”
Holmes said it’s also important to ask the right questions before settling on a home inspector. For starters, he said home owners should quiz their home inspector on previous work experience and the number of years they’ve been in the business.
“I want to hear that they’ve been in the building industry for years prior to becoming a home inspector.”
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How to spot problems and what to do about them
Holmes also suggested hiring an electrician, plumber or a heavy duty contractor to look at the home before making an offer. He said these professionals can give you an idea of what it will cost to fix any problems including bad wiring or faulty plumbing.
“They’ll give you what you need to know and then you have something to bargain with when it comes to the seller,” he said.
Holmes said when assessing a home it’s the standard functions of the home that he’s most concerned with. He says the questions he asks are, ‘How long is the roof going to last?’ and ‘What is the foundation like?’
“You really want to know as much as you can and just remove the guesswork,” he said
“This is the single most expensive investment of your life. You don’t want to spend money in a wrong direction that you didn’t expect.”
Holmes said home buyers should also be aware of distinct concerns in different parts of the country, including whether the home you are considering purchasing is in a flood zone.
“I don’t want anyone to be afraid to buy a house, to buy a property – even in a flood zone.”
Holmes said consumers, even those who are considering purchasing in a flood zone, simply need to be aware that they may need to do some renovations on the home. That could include raising the property to keep it out of harm’s way.
He said one of the biggest issues he’s noticed after decades in the construction industry is that many people don’t do enough to maintain the exterior of their home.
“They tend to take care of the inside over the outside,” he said. “The most important thing to do is always, always fix your house from the outside-in, because the outside is what protects it.”
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How to tell when you should walk away
Holmes said over the years he has come across some homes he’s told people not to buy because the buildings were in such bad shape it was better to walk away.
He said there are cases where it’s smarter to take it down and build new, but again, he says he doesn’t want anyone to be afraid to buy.
“What they need to do is have the right information and know what to do with it. If they can do that, everything is a success.”
Holmes: Buy it Right premieres Sunday, Sept. 10 at 9 p.m. ET on HGTV Canada.
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