Failing to conduct a home inspection before purchase can leave buyers on the hook for unexpected costs, such as asbestos remediation, after the fact.

Failing to conduct a home inspection before purchase can leave buyers on the hook for unexpected costs, such as asbestos remediation, after the fact.

Cooling off period urged to protect hasty home buyers

B.C. home inspectors say bidding wars prompt risky subject-free deals that can leave buyers with unexpected costs and regrets

The B.C. government is being urged to impose a seven-day cooling off period to protect Lower Mainland home buyers who are increasingly forgoing home inspections in order to win bidding wars by making risky subject-free offers.

The Home Inspectors Association of B.C. estimates as few as 10 per cent of homes sold in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley are now being inspected prior to sale, down from 75 per cent a year ago.

That translates into up to 30,000 Lower Mainland homes sold in the first five months of this year without an inspection.

“They are making subject-free offers without inspections out of fear of losing the house in a bidding war,” said Helene Barton, the association’s executive director. “This is putting them at great financial risk since most buyers’ funds are stretched to the limits after the purchase of a property, and would have little, if any, money left over to deal with significant repairs.”

The association argues the dangerous step of forgoing inspection is being driven not just by the highly competitive bidding but also the tight timelines, which often feature deadlines for offers of as little as two days after an open house.

A seven-day cooling off period is already in place for real estate pre-sales in B.C. and the association says it would give hasty buyers a chance to back out of a sale without penalty and potentially avoid financial ruin.

The association says many homes are selling subject-free that may have problems with the foundation, plumbing, wiring or roof, as well as environmental problems like asbestos, mould or buried oil tanks that may require costly removal or remediation.

The Real Estate Association of B.C. says it does not yet have a position on the proposal.

Bob de Wit, CEO of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association, supports a cooling off period.

“It’s a pretty good idea,” de Wit said. “In such a hot market and with such a rush to close deals, this is something that would really protect the home buyer.”

He said unexpected costs that surface after purchase often come at the cost of business for others in the industry, such as renovators if new buyers are forced to shelve plans to upgrade a kitchen.

“When you see these deals closing without [subjects] what it represents is hidden costs that adds stress to homeowners.”

De Wit cautioned that not all home inspectors are equally skilled in detecting problems.

“We’d like to see the home inspection industry continue to raise the bar for the minimum threshold that needs to be met to be called a home inspector.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Giants defenceman Bowen Byram has recorded his first NHL career point (Rob Wilton/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Vancouver Giants Bowen Byram records first NHL career point with Colorado Avalanche

Player with Langley-based WHL franchise assisted on goal against the Ducks

Surrey Fire Service responded to a fire in the industrial area of 192nd street and 54th Avenue early Saturday morning (Jan. 23, 2021). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Surrey crews respond to fire in industrial area

Fire happened early Saturday morning

The RCMP was called to a condo complex in Langley City in the early hours of Jan. 18, 2021, for a shooting. (Shane Mackichan/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Violence hits Langley as gang war boils over in Lower Mainland

Three violent local incidents haven’t been definitively linked to gangs, but are apparently targeted

Langley Advance Times publisher Lisa Farquharson and Real Canadian Superstore Langley manager Jason Pietzarka presented Kristi Kocherkewych with her $200 prize in the third annual Win Everything You Didn’t Get for Christmas Contest. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)
Walnut Grove woman spreads cheer as winner of Langley Advance Times and Superstore contest

The third annual Win Everything You Didn’t Get for Christmas Contest received thousands of entries

Township of Langley crews were called to a structure fire in the 7200blk 208th St in Willoughby on Friday, Jan. 22, 2020 (Curtis Kreklau/South Fraser News Services)
VIDEO: Two-alarm blaze in Langley’s Willoughby neighbourhood

Crews respond to multiple reports of a structure fire in the 7200 block of 208th Street on Friday

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered B.C. teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Most Read