A Valuable Lesson on Home Inspections

A mixture of rain and hail was pelting the ground as Calgary was hit with the worst summer storm I’ve ever seen. It had been raining hard for a week, and this storm was the climax of it all. Thankfully, the family and I planned to leave for a week to Vancouver to see the grandparents the next day…

As I was about to go to bed, I got a call from my painter. He was spending the evening working on my new rental property purchased less than a month prior. “I got some bad news,” he said. “The roof is leaking in two different spots and it has ruined most of the painting I did yesterday. And the ceiling is starting to bubble.”

I couldn’t believe it. Of course, the day before I’m due to leave on a family vacation I get this call. And of course my new tenant was scheduled to move in in a couple days. I told my wife I’d have to deal with this problem and that her and the boys would have to go to Vancouver without me. I’d meet them there as soon as I dealt with this issue.

The worst part about all this is the home inspector who I went through the house with went up on the roof, did a moisture test in the walls and ceilings, and concluded the roof was in fine shape despite its age (estimated at about 15-17 years old). I distinctly remember him telling me it likely had 3 to 5 years left…

To avoid a bad start with my new tenant (could you imagine moving into a new place only to find out the roof is leaking on day one?), the next morning I had two roofing companies come by the house to assess the damage. I was hoping it would just be a quick patch job. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case…

They both said the same thing: the roof was old and needed replacing. They showed me exactly where it was pooling water (it has a mild slope and was a tar and gravel roof), and it clearly had to go. It was literally spongy in two areas. The inspector likely missed the spongy areas because they were covered with loose gravel…

Just like that, I was going to have to fork over $11k on a roof despite being told by the home inspector it had a few good years left just a couple weeks prior.


Real Estate Investing Lesson:

The head of the roofing company I hired told me something valuable I want to share with every landlord: If you are buying an older home, as I like to do, pay an extra $150 to get a professional roofer to come and assess the roof’s condition. Inspectors aren’t experts, they’re generalists, knowing a little bit about a lot of things. And with all the roof types and variables at play, as well as the fact that it is likely going to be the most costly fix you’ll ever have to make on a house, get an expert in to assess its condition. Had I known the roof was in need of immediate replacement, before I removed conditions on the new rental property, I would have baked that cost into my offer…

I ended up arriving four days late to Vancouver…

Live and learn.

Stay hungry,

Aaron Hoddinott signature


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About the author

Aaron Hoddinott

Like all of you entrepreneurs and investors out there, Aaron has been in the trenches. He is the founder of an influential online media and PR company. From oil wildcatters to mining prospectors, tech gurus to medical doctors, and even celebrities, Aaron has helped market and expand brand awareness for a diverse range of publicly traded companies ran by entrepreneurs from all walks of life.

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