If you think you have found the right home, but you have some concerns about its structural soundness, now is the time to call in an expert. Consider having the home inspected by a building inspection service which will prepare a written report. Your purchase is a big investment, so think of the fee for this service as an insurance premium.
Be aware that home inspections are primarily visual inspections and they may not reveal problems with electrical or gas systems. If there is evidence that there are some issues with the electrical or gas systems and/or work has been done without appropriate permits, you should consider having people with qualifications in those areas inspect those systems.
Stigmatized or Psychologically Impacted Properties
Sometimes when dealing in real estate, the onus will be on you, the buyer, to ask questions regarding issues of specific importance to you and your family, rather than relying on a real estate licensee to try to anticipate all of your needs.
If, as a potential buyer, you are concerned about the less obvious structural and mechanical aspects of a property, you can have a property inspection done. However, consumers may have other areas of concern that would cause them to avoid a property. Certain events may cause a property to be described as a “stigmatized property” or a “psychologically impacted property”. These terms are sometimes applied to a property that has had some circumstance occur in or near it, but which does not specifically affect the appearance or function of the property itself.
Examples of these in a residential context might include:
- a sexual offender is reported to live in the neighbourhood;
- a former resident was suspected of being an organized crime
- gang member;
- a death occurred in the property;
- the property was robbed or vandalized; and
- there are reports that the property is haunted.
British Columbia law does not define stigmatized properties. It also does not require sellers or licensees who represent them to disclose circumstances which some may be considered to be stigmas. Buyers are advised to carefully consider the areas of concern they have, discuss them with their licensee, and ensure the necessary inquiries are made to avoid purchasing a property they will not feel comfortable living in.