Home Inspection Red Flags for Homebuyers

Buying a home can be an exciting time in your life; it can also be very stressful. Buyers, especially first-time homebuyers, are often so overwhelmed with the process that things can easily get overlooked.

This is one of the reasons why working with a realtor is so important. When working with an experienced and knowledgeable professional, you can easily avoid major mistakes or mishaps.

Where a lot of homebuyers go wrong is during the home inspection. Throughout the pandemic, as we saw home prices skyrocket, we also saw buyers waiving home inspections to beat their competition.

Our professional advice is to NEVER waive the home inspection clause for the following reasons:

1. Structural Problems

A home may have structural problems or damage that may not be noticeable to you or your realtor.

Structural problems can be anything from a crack in the home’s foundation to damage to a load-bearing wall and can affect the structural integrity of the entire house.

Often, sellers are unaware of these issues and therefore do not disclose them to buyers.

Your inspector will include a structural damages section in their report that will outline any issues they find.

2. Grading

Grading refers to the slope of a home’s surrounding property and how that impacts the way water drains after a storm or snow-melt.

Being in Ottawa, where snow piles up all winter long, you definitely want to keep this in mind.

Again, this is a huge factor that would often go unnoticed by buyers. If the property slopes even slightly toward your home, there’s a higher risk of water damage and flooding.

3. Mould

Mould can be a huge problem, not only for the structural integrity of a home but also for your health and safety.

Typically, severe mould problems are easily detectable through smell or a general feeling of dampness.

Large amounts of mould can spread quickly and be extremely difficult and expensive to remove.

Mould in a space can indicate more significant issues like a leaky roof or ill-fitted windows, so be careful not to write off a small amount of mould as nothing to worry about.

4. Old Wiring & Plumbing

These are things that will need to be updated if any renovations are being done to a home & these updates will be quite costly to fix as they are all hidden behind walls.

Faulty wiring can also make it difficult and unsafe to run modern appliances and are one of the leading causes of house fires. Insurance companies can also refuse coverage due to the increased risk of fire.

You’ll find similar issues with old pipes. If the overall drainage or water pressure of a home is low, it could indicate a large-scale plumbing issue that, again, is quite costly to repair and can lead to water damage.

5. Roofing

Knowing when a roof was last replaced is critical for homebuyers. A new roof is a costly investment and isn’t something that you want to do immediately after purchasing a new home.

Homes built 25-30 years ago will likely need a new roof in the near future if they don’t already need one.

As mentioned above, a leaking roof can be a catalyst for other problems like water damage, mould, and structural damage. These are all things an experienced & knowledgeable home inspector should find and document in their report. If the home you’re looking for has any of the above issues, you need to factor that into your decision to purchase.

This is why we never encourage buyers to waive inspection fees. Without a proper inspection, you could purchase a home that immediately needs hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs that you may not have.

A common issue that occurs when buyers waive inspection or don’t hire an experienced inspector is that they find themselves in a new home haemorrhaging money that they don’t have. If you find yourself in the situation, it can be difficult to resell your home as all issues you’re aware of need to be disclosed to potential buyers.

Don’t find yourself in that position. When you work with the Adam Mills Team, we have home inspectors that we trust to help you make the right decision when it comes to buying a new property.

Contact us today if you’re looking to buy or sell in the Ottawa area.