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Do you know enough about pre-delivery inspections to do one yourself? Probably not

by Clayton Jarvis on 26 Nov 2019

With resale condo and townhome prices in some of Canada’s hottest investment spots already out of reach for many Canadian investors, more and more prospective homeowners will be forgoing the instant gratification of purchasing a previously owned unit in exchange for the savings and long-term benefits associated with pre-construction properties.

Pre-construction is a decidedly low maintenance play, right up until the end of the construction phase. Once a property nears completion, it is subject to a pre-delivery inspection, when any deficiencies or errors made during construction can be identified prior to occupancy.

A PDI is a crucial part of the pre-construction process, especially in a fast-paced construction environment where corners can be cut and the various crews of tradespeople traipsing through a property can leave unintentional damage in their wake.

“They’re extremely important,” says Connect Asset Management’s Ryan Coyle. “Everyone has a right to a pre-delivery inspection, and everyone should definitely accept that right.”

Independent research into what a homeowner should look for during a PDI can leave an investor feeling unjustifiably confident in their abilities to root out deficiencies, but Coyle suggests that any investor attending a PDI should be accompanied by either an experienced realtor or home inspector.

“A lot of time, people want to see the unit – maybe it’s their first investment or their first condo – but for the most part, if they’re working with a realtor who has done this many times before, it’s definitely a good idea to have [the realtor] attend, or attend with them, so they can go through everything with a fine-tooth comb.”

Despite attending dozens of PDIs for both himself and his clients, Coyle still has his offers to attend clients’ pre-delivery inspections rejected.

“I don’t necessarily advise that, but it happens all the time,” he says.

For investors determined to carry out their own PDIs, Coyle suggests doing a room-by-room, floor-to-ceiling scan that will ensure:

  • There are no inconsistencies or blemishes on the floors, walls and ceilings
  • That the electrical outlets are operational and that the light switches and lights are in working order
  • That all doors, handles and railings have been installed or mounted securely
  • That the water pressure and temperature is acceptable in the kitchen and bathrooms

But it remains a big ask for novice investors to engage in an efficient PDI on their own. Those who feel overmatched (or bored) by the process can legally have their realtor or home inspector attend on their behalf, ensuring every nook and cranny receives a thorough going-over.

By not attending, investors may even be doing their realtors a favor.

“I’d rather go by myself,” Coyle says.

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