Inside the Inspector’s Head: Detached Home Inspections and What To Consider

Home Inspection 101 Inside The Inspectors Head : Detached Home Inspection & What to Expect

Featured Blog Post Written By Aaron Borsch from A Buyer’s Choice Home Inspections

After a bit of a break, I figure its time to catch up on some more information!

The bread and butter of all inspections, the detached property. Which can be complicated and simple at the same time.

It’s almost impossible to dictate every single thing that can possible go awry with a house, but perhaps I can break it down a bit. Let’s start with the basics.

What is a Detached Home? 

A detached home is one that stands alone. It is also labelled as a single-family home, and is a free-standing residential building.

What is a Strata Home?

A strata home is a multi-family home where a number of residents live. It is called a strata home because it is managed by a strata, in which the strata is responsible for incidents with regards to insurance, responsibility, and more in the majority of cases. An example of this type of home would be a townhouse complex, a condo, or a duplex.

The Difference Between Detached and Strata Properties

First and foremost, the largest difference in owning a detached property compared to a strata property, is for a detached property you are responsible for nearly everything. This means, if the gutters need cleaning, its up to you. No one is going to make you do them. If something goes wrong because you didn’t clean the gutters properly, its still on you. Fire insurance? Thats usually taken out by the strata complex as a whole. For a detached property, again its all on you.

So while it may be enchanting to not have to pay strata fees every month, it now means the cost of repairs are born by the owner. Which in the end, is usually more expensive.

This breaks down to the differences being this

  • Insurance
  • Repairs
  • Responsibility

So when looking at a house, as an inspector, I never try and tell people what should be a big deal to them. Because everyone has a different item that may be a ‘deal breaker’ in their own eyes.

I did an inspection once where my client’s deal breaker moment was that the client drew pencil marks on the walls, and she didn’t want to move forward with the purchase because of this. It is not myself buying the property, therefore my judgement doesn’t count in that regard.

What To Expect With a Detached Home Inspection

A detached home will typically take longer than a strata property when inspecting. They are typically bigger in size, and thus take longer. Because there is more that you are responsible for with a detached home, it’s important that you’re fully aware of what needs to be fixed, maintained, and kept an eye on moving forward given you remove subjects.

Depending on the market, a home inspection can be done as a pre-inspection if you’re planning on writing subject free, or as a subject to be completed throughout subject removal period.

For more details on subject removal, check out this blog here: Subject Removal 101

For more details on the types of conditions or subjects that would be included in the contract, check out this blog: Real Estate Clauses in Contracts

With any home inspection, and especially a detached home inspection, you should always be prepared to take on some costs and upgrades. There is no such thing as a perfect home, and if there is nothing written on the inspection report then your inspector isn’t doing a good job. In terms of repairs and upgrades, what is expensive is the person viewing its perspective. But if I can give one tip for those looking to purchase houses, always be prepared for some sort of expense. It is very common that there will be, something, that needs to be fixed or replaced. So always be prepared for it.

Highest Cost Repairs for a Detached Home

Now, there are indeed some common items that typically are expensive, or have the perception of being expensive.

  • Roof
  • Structure
  • Extensive water damage
  • Plumbing Lines
  • Electrical
  • Cladding or Envelope
  • Drainage
  • Decks

With that being said, what MOST people view as a ‘big deal’ would be expensive fixes. Things that would cost a lot of money to repair. The above are the most expensive items to repair if there is an issue that is found via an inspection. In the above cases, it is worth getting clarification from the home seller and city regarding the issues that arose in the inspection.

But this still creates the question, “what counts as a lot of money?” To one person, $500 may be a lot, to another person, $50,000 is ok. It’s all about perspective.

Another story. I did an inspection for a client, where at the end of the inspection, there must of been about $250,000 worth of work to be done. The client STILL continued with the purchase because he was purchasing the property for what he felt as was a good deal, and he wanted to really live in the area. So the price tag of repairs wasn’t a big deal for him.

On the other side, I’ve also done inspections for clients where they are at their maximum budget on the purchase, and a small $300 repair was a big deal. It all comes down to perspective, but as I mentioned before it’s always good to expect something when obtaining a detached home inspection.

Next Time

I hope that helps when it comes to breaking down the detached home inspection, what to expect, and what the ‘big’ deal breakers usually are. I will start to break down the above into greater detail on what is expensive, and what usually is less expensive when it comes to the perception of the issues that commonly arise in an inspection.

Written By:
Aaron Borsch
Certified Master Home Inspector (CMHI)
License #: 53540
Phone: 604-880-0818
Email: [email protected]


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