Homeowners burned by foregoing house inspections

Despite the market normalizing, experts say many buyers are still skipping housing inspections

The housing crunch may be seeing some relief now, but the buying frenzy that ensued during the hot market last year is still causing chaos for some home owners.

Frank Loughrey bought his brand new Clayton Heights townhouse with his wife and two young children last year.

He still remembers the open house for three half-built lots in the complex, and the several eager potential buyers checking out the properties.

“There was at least three to six cars that had pulled up to this complex wanting to buy one of three units available,” he said.

Feeling the pressure and fear he’d be scooped by another buyer, Loughrey made a one-subject offer, foregoing a home inspection.

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Five claims of 132 deficiencies later, Loughrey says regulations need to be in place to protect home owners and buyers struggling to find an affordable house to live.

Problems include an improperly laid and leaky foundation and chipped countertops.

Loughrey said he’s been going back and forth with the builder and Pacific Home Warranty – but it’s been a stressful and frustrating process.

“I made a gamble and I lost,” he said. “I’m just going to work harder and make sure everything gets repaired.”

In the meantime, Loughrey wants to see governments intervene through the whole process, from builders to home inspections. He said he hates to think of another family being in the same predicament if he were to have turned the house down.

“Municipal, provincial, federal – something has to be done.”

Loughrey certainly isn’t the only British Columbian who’s taken the risk of a no-subject purchase in recent years.

Helene Barton, executive director of the Home Inspection Association of B.C. said back in July that only about 10 per cent of home buyers were requesting home inspections. That’s compared to 75 per cent in 2015.

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Despite the market starting to cool off, not much has changed.

Barton said there’s been a noticeable shift in buyers feeling the need for inspections. “Many realtors, in my opinion, have become used to a no-subject offer,” she said. “And more and more inspections are being skipped even as the market normalizes.”

An effective way to minimize the chances of home buyers finding themselves in similar situations is to make inspections mandatory, Barton said.

Until then, she warns that recent buyers could be finding deficiencies months or even years after purchase.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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