We were recently joined by David Fairbairn of fairbairninspections.com on our podcast, Multiple Offers: A Real Estate Show (please subscribe :). It was extremely valuable to have his insider takes on the home inspection process.
Our key takeaways:
How the findings of the inspection report are delivered is the probably the most important part of all. Inspectors know how to find issues. Realtors are very open to this. The consumer is on edge waiting for the information and key words can trigger alarm bells. Words like “safety hazard” and “not to code” are the most common. They don’t need to be too alarming. A really good inspector sets the scene and explains the safety hazard is an easy and inexpensive fix (phew!) and it’s not to today’s code, but it was done right at the time. Understanding the client’s emotions and priorities when delivering the news is essential as the inspector layers in proposed solutions.
At the end of the inspection process the buyer needs to have options to proceed. A good inspector will help clearly prioritize what those options are. The real estate agent then has the strategic talk about what to do next.
Common finds in a condo inspection:
When it comes to inspecting a condo David says he has “THE BIG FOUR” that always need to be closely investigated and thoroughly explained.
- Parking membrane
- Leaky condo exterior
His most common find when inspecting houses:
DIY electrical work. Too often it’s not just that it was done incorrectly, it’s blatantly unsafe.
A thermal imaging camera isn’t a provincial requirement, but David says a lot can be missed without one. Also, the quality of the camera and appropriate training to interpret images goes a long way to getting full value.
What’s the value in inspecting a new property with a full warranty?
- A warranty is limited. Warranty claims after possession have to meet a certain threshold. An inspection before possession is more detailed and holds the developer to a higher standard.
- It’s much easier to convince the developer to remedy any issues when the buyer is holding a third party report. It’s much easier to dismiss requests when they come from a lay person.
Matt’s favourite moment:
David wears a custom embroidered shirt with his name on it and it’s not an accident. “It looks like a uniform. When you’re wearing a uniform you can go anywhere.”