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Road to new beginnings: What to watch out for during a home inspection

Buying a house represents the first step towards a new life, whether you are purchasing your first house, trading up to a bigger place or downsizing to a smaller property. In this blog series, we help you start this exciting new chapter in your life with some helpful information about the homebuying process.

For our first post in this series, we look at one of the most important elements in the homebuying process – the pre-purchase home inspection – and outline some important things to watch out for during an assessment.

Why is a pre-purchase home inspection important?

Buying a house is a big financial undertaking, so it is important to be aware of any potential expenses that you might incur from any necessary repairs. While it is not a guarantee that all issues of a house will be identified, a home inspection will still allow you to make an informed decision based on the findings of a qualified professional, who will conduct a visual inspection on the major systems of the house, like the heating and air conditioning, roof and eavestroughs, and plumbing and electrical wiring.

In this light, here are some issues that might arise during a home inspection that warrant extra attention.

Issues around the structural integrity of your house

A house’s foundation ensures that the entire structure is stable, so it’s important that it is secure. Indications that the house could have structural issues include uneven walls, sagging floors and cracks in columns and beams.

Catching these problems is essential because repairing a house’s structural problems can cost thousands of dollars depending on the severity.

Signs of water damage

Water damage is a big red flag because it can mean that the house may have larger issues, such as a leaky roof or faulty plumbing. Prolonged water damage can also lead to mould forming inside your house. Tell-tale signs of water damage include water stains on walls and ceilings, bulging paintwork, and a persistent dampness in certain parts of the house.  

The cost of repairing water damage depends on the source and extent of the damage. If the damage is caused by plumbing issues, you might need to hire a plumber, which will cost an average of $31 an hour according to data from the federal government.

Old electrical wiring

Older homes often have electrical wiring that is faulty or not up to code, which will not only pose compatibility problems with modern heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVACs), but can also potentially lead to fire safety concerns. Additionally, keep in mind that many insurers may not provide coverage for homes with old knob and tube wiring, so that will need to be replaced immediately after closing.

An electrician can repair and update old electrical systems, charging $30 an hour on average according to federal government data.

Evidence of a pest infestation

Not only can unwanted rodents and insects make living in your house uncomfortable, but they can also cause damage that can cost thousands of dollars. Signs of pest incursions include holes in walls and floors, rotten wood and rodent droppings.

If your inspector finds an infestation, hiring a pest control service to manage it can range from several hundred to several thousands of dollars.

Where can I find a home inspector?

Since a home inspection can reveal the true value and condition of a house, finding an experienced inspector is vital.

A good mortgage broker will be able to point you to a house inspector you can trust. You can also contact the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors for a list of inspectors in your area.

Also keep in mind that you should aim to find your own inspector even if the seller of the property offers to arrange an inspection, since it is difficult to rely on an assessment report you did not commission. It’s also a good idea to walk through the inspection with the inspector.

And if you want to learn more about what a home inspector can do for you, read our blog on the value of a home inspector.

The information, materials and opinions contained in this Blog are provided for our information only. This Blog does not constitute legal, financial or other professional advice and you should not rely on it as an alternative to specific advice based on your particular circumstance. This Blog contains links to third party websites. These links are provided for information and convenience; Home Trust does not endorse the content of any third party website, and it makes no representation or warranty as to the information on such third party sites. By clicking on any link to a third party site, you leave Home Trust’s website and do so at your own risk. Home Trust disclaims all liability for any damage or loss that results from your access to or reliance on information contained in this Blog or any third party site.

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