It’s been a string of sleepless nights for a young family in Courtland, Ontario — near Delhi. That’s because the county of Norfolk finally got around to have a look at the home, built nearly three decades ago — a bureaucratic delay that could potentially leave Paul and Andrea Crowder homeless in the next 90 days.
Paul Crowder thought he was on a firm foundation when he bought this family home. But then, the roof caved in: “When they come, they’ll open up some of my walls, — look at my electrical, look at my plumbing.”
Norfolk County is going to probe every nook and cranny of Paul’s house, and his outdoor shed as well — because neither, have ever been given a final inspection — due to a huge building inspection back-log involving thousands of homes.
Paul Crowder: “The house is 27-years old.”
Paul bought it three years ago from the original owner — who was also the builder — Both his lawyer and his real estate agent cleared the home for purchase: “That’s why it came as such a shock. You think when you buy a house all these things are searched and looked at properly.”
Apparently not. And after engineers come to look at the house on Friday, Paul has 90 days to comply with all work orders issued for the property.
Paul: “Hopefully the engineer’s gonna look at my home and say hopefully, it’s stood this long, and I believe it will stand for another 50 -60 years.”
But Paul admits that in this case — the skies the limit. They could tell him to rebuild the floating staircase, which has no lintel post, to support it. They could order him to replace the main support beam for the house.
Paul: “There’s big gaps here, and they even cut around in places to go around the cement there.”
They could even tell him to tear the whole thing down, and start again.
One of the reasons Paul and Andrea agreed to do this story was to warn other people whom may have the same issues, and not even know it. They say; ‘ how do you know where to begin?’ ‘ What questions do you ask? ‘ Well, that’s where Dave van der Woerd comes in.
David Van der Woerd is with Ross & McBride: “You’re buying a new home you’re getting a warranty with it through the Tarion program — but a used home? It’s buyer beware.”
Van Der Woerd recommends paying the extra cost, for a certified home inspection, and title insurance if you’re buying a re-sale home. Although there is some legal protection, against devious vendors: “Basically, if they’re hiding things or they’re misrepresenting the state of the property, they’re in trouble.”
But at this point, all that Paul and Andrea can do, is cross their fingers, and hope for the best:
Paul Crowder: “I believe in the end that everything is going to work out in the end but I’m just concerned about the path we’re going to have to go through, to get there.”
Now if there is a silver lining to any of this — it’s that Paul and Andrea’s real estate agent talked them into buying title insurance, at the time of purchase. The few extra dollars they spent then — will likely save them several thousand dollars now. As the insurance company will pick up the tab for the necessary repairs — and go after those responsible — in court.