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Mike Holmes helps you make sure it's right Add to ...

Thinking about buying a home? Did you hire a house inspector? Mike Holmes has a few choice words about this profession, and the real estate agents who resent good inspectors for doing "too good" a job, causing a deal to be abandoned.

Some buyers don't really want to believe the ugly truth about their dream homes. They'd prefer to stick their heads in the sand, and are receptive when an agent minimizes the problems.

But you need to listen to your home inspector, especially when he gives you bad news. Don't fall for a lipstick-and-mascara cover-up of a house that looks good but is rotten underneath. Your home inspector isn't trying to scare you, he is educating you. And you need to listen.

A home inspection isn't just some game or a strategy to reduce the house price. This is your chance to learn about your home: what's good, what's bad, what needs repair now and what can wait a while.

Mike Holmes was online earlier to answer your questions about home inspections, renovations and repairs.

Mike's new book The Holmes Inspection is available at bookstores now.

Mike Holmes is the host of Holmes on Homes on HGTV. E-mail Mike at mikeholmes@holmesonhomes.com or go to www.holmesonhomes.com

Editor's Note: globeandmail.com editors will read and allow or reject each question. Questions may be edited for length, clarity or relevance. HTML is not allowed. We will not publish questions that include personal attacks on participants in these discussions, that make false or unsubstantiated allegations, that purport to quote people or reports where the purported quote or fact cannot be easily verified, or questions that include vulgar language or libellous statements. Preference will be given to readers who submit questions/comments using their full name and home town, rather than a pseudonym.

Danielle Boudreau, globeandmail.com writes: Hi Mike, we've got a lot of reader questions for you, so let's get right to it.

Tara Tracy from Toronto Canada writes: We recently lost a 'dream house' because we didn't have time to complete an inspection. While touring the house (which wasn't 'lipsticked' or staged) we were most nervous about signs of structural problems- including a crack in the basement wall and slight crumbling of the wall surface, the addition of support beams, and a slight kilter to the upstairs floors. We love old houses and we know we'll face this question again. Do these structure-related problems mean 'walk away'? Or can they ever be fixed at some reasonable cost? (Note: this house was priced under average for location/size, and sold for $35K under asking). Thanks Mike!

Mike Holmes writes: Hi Tara. I'm not sure what you mean that you didn't 'have time' -- do you mean the seller wasn't willing to give you the time to get an inspector? That's never a good sign.

And, if you were able to see all of the problems you describe on just a walk through (I'm assuming you're not professionals), then just think what you'd have found with a thorough inspection. That house doesn't sound like a 'dream'--more like a nightmare!! I'm glad you woke up. And, there's probably a reason it was priced and sold for under asking...right?

To answer your question, yes, sometimes structure can be fixed, at sometimes at a 'reasonable cost', but it always depends on the situation. And, what do you mean by 'reasonable'? You can never make these kind of assessments without a professional checking it out.

Structural problems don't necessarily mean 'walk away', but don't be blind to the fact that they will cost money and will need to be fixed professionally.

Peter Scott from Canada writes: Mike, one of the kids has just bought a 1911 house that passed inspection. They have gone ahead and got an assessment done on the home's insulation to see if they qualify for grants and they do. Some outside walls do not have insulation and it is recommended that they get some blown in through holes drilled between the studs outside. Are there any drawbacks to this and if not which type of blow in would you recommend or, are there no choices? Thanks and keep up the great work.

Mike Holmes writes: Hi Peter. That's great that your kids qualify for a grant--it will help out a lot.

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