Real Estate

Should you get a cottage inspection before buying?

Indoor damp & air quality (IAQ) testing. A close up view on environmental home quality inspector at work, filling in a form as he inspects the exterior of a cellar window, with room for copy. Photo by Valmedia/Shutterstock

Should you get a cottage inspection before buying?

“I wouldn’t buy any type of real estate without an inspection,” says Christine Martysiewicz of Re/Max Ontario-Atlantic Canada. “Small repairs can end up being big bills and due diligence allows you to make an informed decision.” Still, you need to be realistic, says Haliburton broker Anthony van Lieshout, if you’re expecting big price reductions to compensate for issues the inspector uncovers. “If you’re buying a 1950s cottage, the cottage itself might account for only $50,000 in value on a $350,000 purchase—most of the value is in the land.”

One other caveat from Chris Winney in Land O’ Lakes: “I don’t use a local inspector.” Why not? She says many inspectors are also renovators, and using an outside inspector reduces the likelihood that he’ll inflate the number of issues in an effort to get your renovation business. “I don’t want any conflicts of interest,” she says. And while your realtor may trust her preferred inspectors, you may want to find one on your own: after all, an inspector recommended by a realtor may be more interested in making sure he doesn’t scotch his colleague’s deal than in protecting the buyer’s interests.

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