The board and volunteers of OntarioACHI applaud the latest press release from the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA), the trade association that supports Realtors, for their stance on Home Inspections.
We were especially pleased to see that Tim Hudak, CEO of OREA, said “Instead of placing another demand on home sellers’ time and energy, and forcing even more people through their home, the home energy audit should just be included as part of a standard home inspection”
The fact that Mr. Hudak realises that the vendor has to put up with a lot of inconvenience because of one or two or often more Home Inspections as part of the Real-Estate transaction process suggests OREA may be recognising that combining the Home Inspection, Energy Audit and adding a measurement for radiation from radon in the home, that is performed once, by a qualified Licensed Home Inspector would be a positive consumer protection policy.
It is unfortunate that the same day this press announcement was released, representatives from OREA sat in front of the Standing Committee on Social Policy and suggested that while they were fully supportive of a combined Inspection that encompassed all the consumer protection functions currently under investigation, they would want that inspection elective. That is optional, and performed only at the Buyer’s request.
We know from current market conditions that an elective service is quickly disposed of when a frenzied market is created.
Many homes are being purchased without the buyer protection of a Home Inspection and sometimes without even a finance condition. The suggestion to the Committee by the OREA representatives “75% of homes are inspected” has no basis in fact and from the information we are receiving back from not just our members but members of other associations is is likely to be the reverse of that number, and 75% of all homes sold are NOT being inspected, certainly not to any recognised Standard of Practice.
Then there is the subject of logistics. Home Inspections in a furnished property currently require the presence of the Realtor. How many Realtors are going to want to sit through a 5 hour inspection that encompasses a home, Audit and Radon inspection?
Leaving the Inspection to the buying stage means in a retail market, where little inventory exists, most homes are sold without inspections as is currently the case. When (or if) the market cools and there is a large inventory allowing buyers to be more picky, the same house can be inspected multiple times. Neither of these options provide protection for the consumer either for their time, their money or their health.
Moving the inspection to the pre-listing stage, with it being made mandatory on the part of the seller or the listing Realtor is the right way to go to ensure all buyers of Real-Estate are protected. This ensures homes are inspected only once as part of the Sale process, are efficient, with homes that have already been recently energy audit tested or recently measured for radon being able to skip these two stages of the inspection.
We heard the OREA representatives state that moving the Inspection to the pre-listing stage would slow the sale process down. We don’t know what school the people that came up with that analysis went to but an Inspection is an Inspection. The time for it doesn’t change just because you choose to do it at a different stage. The sale process time-frame would not be affected by moving the Inspection to the pre-listing stage. That is, unless, the guys from OREAare suggesting buyers do it AFTER the sale has closed. We fail to see how that protects anyone.
That way someone buying a home can be sure that defects that can realistically be identified have been disclosed, they are fully aware of the costs of operating the home from an energy perspective, and the can be assured that the risks of their home actually killing them because of radiation from radon are at best mitigated, or at the very least known. This allows buyers to properly budget their finances, reducing their risks of over-borrowing, reducing the number of after-sale lawsuits and……saving lives.
Now that’s what we call consumer protection!