seller showing house to inspector and client

Once you finish the purchase of a home, you become responsible for everything that comes with it. Unfortunately, this includes any existing issues with the home. Ensuring that any property you may purchase is free of the following fourteen problems may take some extra time and money during the home-hunting and inspection phases, but can save you far more in the long run.

1. Roof Issues

The roof is undoubtedly one of the most important parts of a home. A compromised roof can cause serious damage to the house and to your pockets. Roof repairs can be quite costly, and should be factored into the price of the home. Keep in mind that most sellers won’t replace a roof if there are still a few years of expected life in it.

2. Storm Damage

Extreme weather can cause significant damage to the exterior of the house, both on to the roof and to the siding, or even foundations, in case of flooding and freezing. Hail damage can be quite destructive and easy to miss as it’s often not visible to the naked eye. A good home inspector should be able to spot hail damage by using special gear and can also assess the integrity of the roof and foundation.

3. Old Appliances

It’s highly unlikely that the property you’re buying is equipped with brand new appliances. Be sure you take into consideration the cost of repairing or even replacing them should they stop functioning. Do some research on the brand, model and especially the year of the property’s major appliances to know exactly what to expect.

man repairing washing machine

4. Handrails

You might not think of them as a big deal, but functional handrails are mandatory on staircases and along balconies. A wobbly handrail can be a serious safety issue, so be sure to test all of them.

5. Rotten Wood

Rotten wood may be found anywhere that moisture, mold, or humidity are issues. Check the base of the home, along the roof and especially on the window sills. Finger-jointed materials, used heavily in the 80’s and 90’s, usually rot more quickly due to water penetration. If the home has a wood deck, be sure to check if it was properly maintained and prepared for the cold season.

6. Cooling or Heating Systems

Replacing an HVAC system can be an extensive and costly project. Be sure to check the age and maintenance schedule of any temperature control system already in the home. Regular servicing is crucial for this kind of item, and while a well-maintained boiler can last thirty years or more, the cost and time involved in replacing a boiler or furnace risks turning a profitable investment into a loss.

man checking water heater valves


7. Environmental Issues

Doing a thorough check for any environmental concerns should be on every potential buyer’s to-do list. The last thing you want to discover in your new home is mold or asbestos. These, alongside materials such as radon or lead-based paint, are serious health concerns.

8. Electrical Safety Concerns

The older the home, the most likely it is to have faulty wiring. Current codes require ground fault breaker outlets in bathrooms and kitchens, but you should also consider today’s increased electrical load. People are using more appliances and electronics than ever, so be sure the wiring is up to date and can handle the electrical load in order to avoid frying that new plasma screen TV.

9. Poor Drainage/Roof Water Control

As we’ve established already, water damage along a foundation can kill a sale in a split-second. Poor roof and gutter drainage is another cause for water damage, one that many buyers overlook when making a purchase. Check that the drainage paths direct water away from your foundation on any property you purchase. This should include checking the gutters as well. Clogged or poorly maintained gutters can be a sign that the upkeep of the property hasn’t really been a priority.

man inspecting gutters

10. Pest Control

Pest infestations can be quite a hassle. They are hard to resolve and usually reoccur. Look for signs of previous pest issues both inside and outside the home and be sure that the area was properly sprayed during routine pest control visits.

11. Poor Ventilation

In a lot of homes mold develops because there is not enough airflow in a specific room. Proper ventilation in all areas of the house, including the attic, is a must if you want to avoid mold problems.

12. Plumbing Problems

The plumbing system is another hidden part of the home that is crucial in making the space comfortable and livable. Just as in the case of electrical equipment, homes with older pipes and fixtures may present problems. Unexpected factors, such as tree root growth can also cause serious damage to a plumbing system. Be sure the house has plumbing that works by checking for all the common bathroom problems.

man repairing pipes under the bathroom sink

13. Poor Caulking

Check around the windows and doors for proper caulking and weather stripping. These items wear out in time, but they are relatively easy to repair or replace. This will ensure that water or air doesn’t come in around the doors and windows.

14. Bad Insulation

Good insulation is vital everywhere, but especially north of the 49th. If you’re viewing a home in summer, it may not be until winter that you fully appreciate the cost of poor insulation.  Get a specialist to verify that the home has good quality insulation in the walls and attic.

inspector with checklist looking at house insulation

15. Foundation Cracks

This could prove one of the most expensive repairs a home owner may encounter. Of particular importance are the craks are larger than 1 cm accompanied with a lateral shift on the two sides of the crack. Normally, if the creack is only a few mililimetres, with no lateral surface dispalcemenets, it could just be a normal wear and tear.

Final Advice

If you are not worried about spending a few hundred dollars on a professional home inspection, it is always adviseable to get your house professionally inspected prior to your purchasing it. But, exceptionally, under the following circumstances, you may be able to get away with a professional home inspection, even though it is not adviseable.

  • If you are buying a brand new property.
  • If you are buying an apartment under 1,000 SQFT and no older than 10 years old.
  • If you are buying a property mainly because of the land value. The examples of these properties are detached houses with large lots with the ratio of [Assessed value of the land] over [Assessed value of the building] over 5 or more.

Ali Asi | 604-785-8900 | | Royalty Group Realty