The savvy homebuyer’s pre-purchase checklist
You don’t shop for a home the same way you shop for a new pair of shoes. Even when you’ve found the house of your dreams, you’ll still need to verify a few things before you sign. In addition to appearance, number of bedrooms, neighbourhood and nearby amenities, here are a few items to keep on your radar!
- Utilities: Is the house connected to the city’s water and sewer system? If not, what type of septic system and artesian well is the city using, and are they in good condition?
- The structure: Are there any cracks in the walls? Is there any mold present? Is the exterior siding warped or bulging? Are the floors abnormally sloped?
- The roof: How is its general condition? Does it have a history of leaks? When was it built or redone?
- The foundation: Are there cracks in the foundation? Are there signs of sagging or water infiltration?
- Doors and windows: Are there signs of mold? Is there moisture trapped in insulated windows? Are they airtight and watertight?
- Energy efficiency: Is the house well insulated? How is it heated? Is there an air conditioning system or air exchanger?
- Electricity: Is the electrical service entrance in good condition? Is the interior wiring safe and up to code?
- The plumbing: Is the water pressure good? Does the current plumbing system drain the water efficiently? How old is the underground water inlet? Are there leaks? What material is the interior plumbing made of?
- The land: Is it well drained? Are there foundation drains around the house? If so, do they work well? Is there a pool, patio or deck? Is the landscaping complete?
Buying a single-family home or a condo is a big investment. Even after you’ve checked the items on this list with the owner, it is wise—and sometimes necessary—to schedule a building inspection for a more detailed picture of the home’s condition. The inspector will examine every nook and cranny of the house and provide you with a detailed inspection report. If the report reveals issues that leave you stumped, call in a professional (plumber, electrician or engineer, depending on the problem) for more information and an estimate of how much you’ll need to budget to fix them.
To find a building inspector in your area, click here!
Issues that shouldn’t have you running scared
When you visit tour a potential new home (especially on your second visit), you tend to focus on the little things, including the things you don’t like. Luckily, not every problem is a bright red flag. The following are minor issues that can be fixed without breaking the bank.
- Paint colour or condition: A quick coat of paint, and you’re good to go!
- Visible water inlet or hidden plumbing: Installing a magnetic access panel is your best bet. Simple, affordable and effective!
- Outdated cabinets: Often, replacing doors and hardware is enough to achieve an updated look. Look into it!
- Outdated sinks or kitchen and bath fittings: Nowadays, big box stores offer a wide selection of styles at affordable prices. Out with the old and in with the new!
- Ugly light fixtures: Sometimes, a single fixture is enough to ruin a whole room! But don’t fret; once you’re the owner, you’ll be able to replace them with something you love.