If you’re buying a rural home in Prince Edward County, be prepared to have 3 inspections:

1 – The Home Inspection
2 – The Water Well Inspection and Water Test
3 – The Septic System Inspection

Note: if you’re buying a home in one of the communities with municipal water and sewage services, you’ll only need to worry about a home inspection.

The Home Inspection in PEC

If you’ve bought a home before, you probably already know what to expect from a home inspection. Home inspections have 2 primary goals:

  1. Identify any major problems with the home. This is the number one reason to get a home inspection. Are there any major issues? Deal breakers? How old is the roof? How much longer is the furnace expected to function? Are there issues with the foundation? Mold? A rodent infestation? A qualified home inspector will be able to give you an indication of what needs to be fixed immediately, in the short term and in the long term, along with estimated costs. Assuming you made your offer to buy the home conditional on performing a satisfactory home inspection, you’ll have the opportunity to walk away (or re-negotiate the price) if you uncover any major issues during the home inspection.
  2. Identify any minor issues and maintenance items. Almost every house will have minor issues that need to be dealt with, from a leaky shower to missing handrails to unsealed windows to ungrounded electrical outlets. A thorough home inspection will allow you to plan and budget for regular maintenance and repair.

Pro Tip: Deal with the minor issues identified in the home inspection ASAP, so that minor issues don’t become major issues.

Keep in mind that a home inspector can only inspect what he or she can see, so they can’t tell you what’s happening under the floors and behind the walls, and they won’t identify issues relating to Ontario’s building code.

In our experience, home inspections in Prince Edward County are extremely thorough, and you can expect them to take anywhere from 2.5 to 4 hours. They’ll provide you with a written report and will generally provide photos of the roof and attic. Home inspection costs start at a few hundred dollars and vary depending on the size and type of home and the inspection company you hire.

You can read more about home inspections in a blog we wrote on our Toronto real estate website.

Pro Tip: Attend the home inspection in person! It’s a great opportunity to be introduced to the inner workings of your new home and learn from a pro.

The Well Inspection/Water Test in Prince Edward County

Photo: Q-Logic Water Solutions

A water well inspection will give you important information, including the type of well that is present (dug, drilled or bored), the depth of the well, the condition of the well components, the water flow and how fast the well refills. The well inspector will be able to tell you the typical size of family the well is able to support, and can prepare you for any expected maintenance or repairs required.

Pro Tip: Know what kind of well you have and what that means! Also beware that some houses have water cisterns instead of wells – in areas where no wells are possible or water is not useable, properties sometimes have what are essentially big holding tanks. In these cases you’ll need to factor in regularly trucking in water.

If you aren’t on municipal water, another important part of your due diligence is having your water tested for (bacteriological) safety. Your REALTOR will likely collect a sample on your behalf and send it to Public Health.

Water sample test results

This is what you hope to see!

The Septic System Inspection in PEC

If you’re buying a home that isn’t on municipal sewage services, welcome to the world of septic systems! While septic stuff can seem intimidating to the city dweller, they are very common in Prince Edward County and across smaller communities in Ontario.

The septic system’s job is to treat the sewage from your home. Bacteria work to break down organic matter (toilet paper, poop, etc.) into water, nitrogen and CO2, which then gets reabsorbed into the soil, and the unconverted matter accumulates in the tank and gets pumped out periodically. There are various types of septic systems in the County – the most common is a combination of septic tank and bed, though you’ll also encounter simple holding tanks.

Issues with septic systems can get very expensive very fast, so a septic system inspection is a MUST. The septic inspection will help you understand the size, condition and remaining life of your system, which will help you plan future maintenance and replacement decisions.

To learn more about septic tank inspections, check out the Ontario Septic Tank website.

Pro Tip: Ask the Seller to pump the septic tank before closing! It’ll be one less thing for you to think about. (Note: this will need to be part of your original offer to purchase the property).

Many of the inspectors in Prince Edward County will perform both the septic and well inspection at the same time, and while the cost can vary, expect to pay about $500.

Having your home, well and septic system inspected are critical parts of the home buying process in Prince Edward County. A local REALTOR will be able to walk you through what needs to happen, recommend qualified inspectors, and educate you about what the results mean.

Final Pro Tip: There are a lot of reasons to work with a local expert vs. your city REALTOR, and well, septic and rural house issues are some of them. You can read more about Why You Should Work with a Local REALTOR here…and of course, get in touch if you want to be connected to the best real estate agents in the County!

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