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What to Look for When Checking Out a Home

Searching for a new home to purchase can be a very exciting time, especially when you find one you love. Maybe the house looks amazing in the photos online, it feels like a good fit when you walk through it, and it starts to feel like it could be ‘the one.’ But sometimes, houses can hide some unfortunate secrets that aren’t immediately obvious when looking at photos or even when walking through them. While some surprises can be fun and exciting, surprise problems with your new house are not so fun. They can also be very costly and stressful.  

Here are 6 of the most important things to keep an eye out for when you are walking through your potential new home:  

Damp/Water/Mold – This is one of the most important things to watch for when touring a home that you may be interested in buying. Water damage or excess moisture can result in toxic mold and damage to the structure of the building. Look for watermarks on the walls and ceilings, and check the floors for any signs of warping. The basement is the area where you’re most likely to find signs of water damage or excess moisture, so pay special attention when looking at that part of the home.  

Structural Integrity of the Building – Keep your eye out for any big cracks in the walls, floors, and foundation but keep in mind that some hairline cracks are normal. Also, keep an eye out for door or window frames that appear tilted or off center as that can be a sign of a sinking or unstable foundation.  

Which Direction Does the House Face – The amount of natural light that a home receives can make or break how the house feels to those who live in it. If you can, tour the house on a sunny day so you can get a good idea of how much natural light you can expect the house to have. In the winter, the direction the house faces can be the difference between dealing with tons of icicles and frost (or not!) 

Windows and Window Frames – Look at the state of the external window frames, as they can be a great indicator in terms of the condition of the rest of the house. If the windows have been well cared for and maintained, odds are the rest of the house has been cared for in a similar fashion. If you can push your finger easily into the wood of the window frame that indicates the wood is rotten. If you notice condensation between the two panes of glass, that is a good sign that they are faulty and need to be replaced.  

The Age and Condition of the Roof – Having a roof replaced can be a very expensive endeavor, and one you probably don’t want to experience with your newly purchased home. Newer roofs have a life expectancy of between 15 and 20 years, depending on which materials were used. If the home you’re considering has a flat or nearly flat roof, find out what material was used to seal it. Most roofs today are sealed with a waterproof membrane (as opposed to asphalt and gravel) which is effective at sealing all the seams and edges of the roof.  

Check for Dodgy Wiring/Number and Placement of Outlets – Bad wiring can be really dangerous, and having your new home rewired can be a very expensive undertaking. Make sure to pay attention to how many outlets are in each room and where they are placed. You should also make sure to check out the fuse board as it can give you a good indication of the state of the wiring in the home.  

While it is very important to keep these things at the top of your mind when you are looking at a potential new home, your best resource for ensuring the safety and quality of your new home is to have an experienced professional home inspector inspect the home. A licensed home inspector will know exactly what to look for and will be familiar with all the warning signs and indicators of possible issues. They will also be able to advise you on the maintenance costs and responsibilities of the home and what to keep an eye out for down the road. At Building Insights, we are uniquely qualified and bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, integrity and quality of service to each and every home inspection we do. Contact us for a free quote or to book your home inspection today!  

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