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.
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 home buyer 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.