Experts say you should buy a home with your head and not your heart, but it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement when you find a home that seems perfect for you.
That’s why a home inspection is a crucial step. It can uncover problems that might require walking away from a potential purchase, or at least mean reassessing your offer.
According to Jared McIntyre, a home inspector with Canadian Property Inspections Ltd. and REALTOR® with Redline Real Estate Group, these are five red flags a home inspection might uncover:
Since the foundation is literally what holds up a house, McIntyre says this is an enormous potential red flag. Settling of a foundation is one kind of problem, but another is underground water seepage. Both can threaten the structure of the home.
“IT MIGHT BE AN EXTRA COST UP FRONT, BUT IT’S WELL WORTH THE KNOWLEDGE THAT THE HOUSE IS FINE STRUCTURALLY AND IS SAFE.” – JARED MCINTYRE, HOME INSPECTOR & REALTOR®
Structural walls removed
McIntyre says it’s quite common for people wanting a more open concept in their older home to just start removing walls or support posts themselves.
He says if this is not done properly, with the expertise of an engineer, you can compromise the structure of the entire home. Warnings signs can include cracks in ceilings or walls.
If a home needs a new roof, “it’s an expensive thing to do, and if the people who are selling are not willing to negotiate on it that can obviously compromise the sale of a house,” said McIntyre. He adds if the roof structure also needs repairs, the job could become even more expensive.
Water stains on ceilings can be a warning sign that the roof has leaked for quite some time.
Electrical, heating and plumbing
McIntyre says this is an area where home inspectors sometimes find do-it-yourself nightmares that can cause serious damage or even injury.
“We’ve walked into a house and opened up electrical panels that we actually have to condemn, and say ‘sorry, but we’re turning off power to this section of the house,’ ” he said.
Raccoons or mice making themselves at home in an attic space might seem more comical than serious, but McIntyre says they can do a lot of damage.
He says mice like to burrow through attic insulation and will chew through whatever gets in their way, including electrical wiring.
Overall McIntyre says a knowledgeable homebuyer looking to repair and then flip a home might find some issues less daunting than a first-time homebuyer, but a home inspection is still a smart investment.
“It might be an extra cost up front, but it’s well worth the knowledge that the house is fine structurally and is safe,” he said.