Homebuyers unprotected

Homebuyers are going unprotected

The quick pace of B.C.’s hot real-estate market in the Lower Mainland has been mirrored by record activity in the Okanagan.

It’s been a busy time, and things are changing fast.

Many occupations serving the Lower Mainland real-estate industry have been run off their feet meeting the demands of a booming market, with one exception – home inspectors.

In order to win bidding wars, thousands of Lower Mainland homebuyers have been pressured into making subject-free purchase offers in order to secure a home.

In doing so, consumers are going unprotected, risking their investments without a professional home inspection.

Industry insiders estimate as few as 10 per cent of homes changing hands in the Lower Mainland are now being professionally inspected prior to sale — down from 75 per cent from 12 months ago.

As many as 30,000 homes changed hands in the first five months of this year without a professional home inspection. The fear of losing a house is preventing prospective buyers from performing due diligence, putting themselves at serious risk.

In real estate, due diligence means taking caution, reviewing documents, procuring insurance, and inspecting the property prior to sale.

When there are too many issues with a property — and that means too much potential risk and cost — consumers can change their minds and look for a more suitable property.

Buying a house is unlike most things; you don’t get to return it for a refund if you don’t like it.

The spiraling trend of buying homes without good information could cause devastating consequences for thousands of vulnerable homebuyers unaware of the condition of the property they are purchasing.

This is especially true when most buyers’ funds are stretched to the limits just by purchasing the property, and there isn't any left over for unexpected repairs.

There is a simple solution — a cooling-off period for all real-estate sales in order to protect consumers. Providing the time for due diligence will afford the purchaser caution, time to review complicated documents properly and to receive a professional inspection report prior to sale.

Every home purchase is a huge decision and a cooling-off period will help prevent consumers from making serious mistakes with their life savings and possible financial ruin.

The B.C. government has the opportunity to correct this unnerving trend immediately by matching the same way they protect consumers purchasing real estate with pre-sale real estate contracts — with a similar seven-day cooling off period.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.


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About the Author

When you need advice or guidance with DIY home improvement and repairs, Hugh Cairns can help you with the answers.

Home improvements can be rewarding, turn your home into a nicer more comfortable place to live, and increase its value.

Whether you are renovating your kitchen, converting a loft, giving a room a lick of paint or making improvements to your home’s energy efficiency, this column is here to guide you with useful information and key things to remember.

Do you have a renovation question or concern? Please feel free to send Hugh your questions. Contact him through www.subject2homeinspections.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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