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The importance of a Home Inspection prior to purchase

If you lived in the United States, Canada or England and were in the process of buying a home, you would most likely order a Home Inspection or Building Condition Survey prior to completing the purchase. In fact, in the U.S. it is estimated that nearly 90 percent of all homes and condos purchased have either had a home inspection performed prior to purchase, or at minimum, their realtor suggested they get one.

How does this apply to the Cayman Islands? Essentially, it is no different. Purchasing a home or condo here today without a full Home Inspection conducted would not be considered prudent. In fact, because the Cayman Islands does not regulate general contractors, builders, and remodelling contractors’ knowledge and standards of practice, the safety and standards of work will remain a constant concern for anyone purchasing a home or condo.

Although Cayman is a small island, homebuyers today are better informed and spend more time researching the homebuyer process than in the past. As a result, homebuyers are keenly aware of the importance and necessity of getting a Home Inspection or Building Condition Survey with the purchase of their new home. More notably, the trend on island has also changed in recent years, whereby trusted and experienced realtors will advise their clients to put a Home Inspection Condition into the purchase contract.

A Home Inspection includes the following areas:

  • Structural components (foundation, walls, floors, roof and hurricane straps, etc.);
  • Exterior and grounds;
  • Roof and components (the covering, flashings, roof penetrations, drainage, etc.);
  • Air conditioning systems (compressor, condenser, air-handler, evaporator, operating controls, disconnects, distribution systems, etc.);
  • Electrical systems (examination of the panel box, branch circuits, all connected devices etc.);
  • Plumbing systems (supply and drainage lines, faucets, hot water systems, water pressure, etc.);
  • Appliances;
  • Interior components (all floors, doors, walls, windows, ceilings, cabinets and countertops, steps, staircases, railings, etc.);
  • Insulation and ventilation (exhausts, insulation, roofing, stove/gas-fired components, etc.);
  • Garages.

After the physical inspection has been completed, it is followed by a comprehensive, detailed report of the property, any defects found, and remedial recommendations.

Potential home buyers should be aware to hire only professionally qualified and licensed Home Inspectors who have licenses earned from chartered organisations and licensing bodies, such as the American Society of Home Inspectors, etc. These organisations are designed to protect the public from unqualified and unlicensed individuals, and to ensure that the Inspector is knowledgeable, experienced and held to an ethical standard of practice.

In years past, ‘buyer beware’ comments and similar references prior to purchasing a home had become the norm. Although a Home Inspection is still the buyers’ choice and not yet legally mandated, Cayman’s well prepared and savvy purchasers of
today are seemingly pushing towards making a Home Inspection or Building Condition Survey the new norm.

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