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Friends to Lead, Friends in "Deed"

 

Yes, you read right, pretty much 4 out of 5 home inspectors in BC challenge the credibility of their own licensing.  That’s a worrisome and bad statistic, but with a sliver of a silver lining.  It’s bad because, if the licensing is so lax, there was a very low bar for home inspectors that are currently holding licenses.  It’s good because licensed home inspectors are challenging their own profession standards and change is coming.  So let’s go through the recent history of home inspector licensing and what may change.

Are you old enough to remember the leaky condos fiasco?  The home inspection industry has a sketchy past in BC.   Although less common now, you still see tarps hanging over portions of condos and townhomes in Surrey, Langley, and White Rock.  It’s a hangover from a construction disaster of days gone with the epicenter in Vancouver.  Didn’t the construction industry have a proper and official building or home inspection checklist? 

As a result of many past horror stories, in 2009, BC became the first province in Canada to require home inspectors to get licensed.  Can you believe it?  That dumbfounds me. What about home buyers in the rest of Canada?  Jeez. 

Well, better atrociously late than never.  Effective in 2009, a home inspection in BC had to be done by a licensed inspector. The recent history of home inspection qualifications is that effective March 30, 2011 individuals deeming themselves “Home Inspectors” needed to be licensed by Consumer Protection BC who, in turn, recognized four associations

 

Phew!  Right?   Are you getting that warm fuzzy feeling?  Well don’t. The answer is to remain on your toes for unqualified home inspectors.  In March 2013, Craig Hostland, President of Canadian Association of Home &  Property Inspectors (CAHPI-BC) released a rather scathing press release challenging the licensing and making the bold statement “it's just like before licensing - the wild wild west - except now inspectors are licensed to pull the wool over your eyes.   Given his inside knowledge of the industry and passion to protect the consumer, I encourage you to read his article.

I think Mr. Hostland ruffled a few feathers.  This became an important issue to the provincial government and BC Premier Christy Clark made it part of her platform for re-election.  She made a commitment to uniform standards in BC for the home inspection industry.  On June 10, 2014, she wrote a letter to Rich Coleman, Deputy Premier, and also the Minister Responsible for Housing, mandating uniform licensing of home inspectors.  If you don’t want to read the whole letter that I have linked, just skip down to point number 10.  

I want to end on a positive note.   Despite the problems of the past and present, and the licensing question mark, the standards are going to tighten.   In the meantime, there are good home inspectors out there.  That’s why the inspectors are speaking up and challenging the lax licensing standards.  They want to protect the home buying consumer and raise the standards of their industry.   So, do your homework, choose carefully, ask questions, and ensure whoever you hire has the required licensing and diligently follows a lengthy and detailed home inspection checklist.


Mike Alleyne
604-785-7066
Homelife Benchmark Realty, Surrey

Friends to Lead, Friends in "Deed"

 

 

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Sell your home fast  To sell or not to sell your house before buying, that is the question.   We are back to the chicken and the egg.   But this time there is an answer to the riddle.

What often happens, is that buyers start house hunting just to look (just peaking), not to buy. Well, as night follows day, they fall in love with a property, put in an offer, and it's accepted.  The buyers are now in a bit of a real estate pickle and must rush to sell their home. They have to list their home, find a buyer, get over the price negotiation hurdle, and finally seek the mythical real estate unicorn --- concurrent closing dates.  It's a journey riddled with stress.

To avoid the above scenario, the simple answer is to sell first.   However; as with most things in real estate, it's complicated and depends on the circumstances and the current housing market.   It also depends on your personal financial position.  Overall there are three reasons to buy before selling, and nine reasons to sell before buying.  

Three Reasons to Buy Before Selling

1.  You need time to renovate your new home.  You can continue to live in your old home while making changes to your newly purchased home.
2.  You found too good of a deal on your dream home.  It could be that you've had your eye on a certain piece of property for a long time. It came on the market at a fair price and you know it won't last.
3.  It's a seller's market. You are fairly comfortable that your home will sell quickly.  In this case you may want to ensure you have secured a place to live before your home gets snapped up. If you sell your home, time may not be on your side to find a new home.

Nine Reasons to Sell Before Buying

1.  It usually is a longer process to sell than to buy. The timing is not in your control. It can take months to sell a home, sometimes longer.  Suddenly you are trying to figure out how to sell your home fast.  After all, when you are selling all the prepatory work is up to you.   When you are buying, the prep work is done by the seller.  
2.  There are more uncertainties when selling because final selling price, home inspection issues, buyer's subjects, closing date and other negotiating points are unknown.
3.  You are in a much stronger negotiating position when buying, if you have already sold.  If you have to sell your house, you are an impaired buyer.  Some sellers may even turn down your "subject to sale" offer.  
4. You can hold out for a higher sales price (or not sell at all) if your back is not against the wall.  
5. There may be an opportunity to sell your home and rent it back after closing.   This will allow you more time to buy your dream home.
6. You may inadvertantly end up becoming a landlord.  Now you have a whole new bag of problems.
7. You don't want to get stuck with two houses.  It's unlikely most buyers can afford to carry two mortgages (and don't be overconfident that the lender will be willing to do this)?   The good old days of easygoing banks are long gone. If you did not make your purchse offer subject to sale, you may end up carrying two mortgages. 
8.  You will know how much you have to spend on your new home
9.  You can't enjoy your new home if you are consumed with worry about finances and worrry about the old one.

A home seller never wants to be in a position to have to sell their home fast. Instead of quiet evenings relaxing and dreaming of your new home, you are scouring the internet for tips to sell your home fast.  When you are buyer the timeline is up to you.  You can take as little or as long as you like to find a home.   

There are lingering old stories of buyers purchasing their dream home and then turning around and selling their current home before the ink dried on the purchase contract.   These stories are from a bygone era and don't count today. If buyers and realtors were clairvoyant and all uncertainties were known, then maybe buy first.

In most markets and circumstances your realtor will recommend that you sell before purchasing.  It is your realtor's job to negotiate the highest possible price when selling and the lowest possible price when purchasing.  Selling your current home before buying is in most instances the best case scenario -- it gives more power to negotiate to both you and your realtor.

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