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Things to Look for When House Hunting

Going to see a home for the first time is always exciting – you’ve looked at pictures, booked the appointment and are already picturing yourself living there.

When visiting a home that is for sale, it will often look its very best. Homes are staged in ways that make the home feel warm, welcoming, make rooms look larger and more open, and most importantly downplay any weaknesses.

Here are a few important things to look at when viewing a home to make sure your excitement does not come with any extra cost.

Structural

The most costly repairs to any home are structural – something that looks like a small problem can often cost tens of thousands of dollars. Before you enter a home for the first time, first take a look around the outside of the house for any significant cracks in the foundation or the stucco. Look at the roof to see if the shingles are lifting – if they are, it means they will likely need to be replaced sooner rather than later. When inside, look for cracks in walls, ceilings, and the foundation to make sure the home is solid.

Plumbing, Heating & Electrical

Take some extra time when you are in the home to look at the furnace, water heater and electrical panel. Is the furnace high efficiency? When was it installed? How old is the water heater? For the electrical panel, is there space or is the home at maximum capacity? Make sure the wire connectors leading to the panel are copper, as other types of wiring are a fire hazard and can void homeowner’s insurance.

Check for signs of water and moisture damage.  If a home has water stains or the basement smells musty, it may indicate a larger problem. Run sinks and showers, check under cabinets and flush toilets to make sure they are in good working condition. Turn lights on and off to make sure they are working correctly.

Ask for copies of monthly hydro bills.  Do they seem appropriate for the size and age of the home? Large bills may indicate inadequate insulation.

Property Disclosure Statement

A Property Disclosure Statement (PDS) is legally required to be signed by a seller with an official Offer to Purchase form, so many sellers are willing to prepare one in advance. This will indicate how long they have owned the home and if there have been any significant issues with it during their ownership; and if so, how those issues have been rectified. If the seller has selected “Yes” on any portion of the sheet, they are required to provide an additional explanation that may help explain an issue, such as whether a repair has been completed.

Not sure on something? Consider a home inspection

If you are seriously considering purchasing a home, paying a few hundred dollars for a home inspection can save you thousands if you have missed something. A trained home inspector looks to ensure the home is solid and up to code, and if they identify any issues, they will often give you a rough estimate of the cost to repair these defects. A home with serious defects, such as major foundation issues or wiring that is not up to code, can be costly to repair and you may decide that the home is not worth the expense required.


Get Pre-Approved

Before house hunting, it is a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage so you know what you can afford. When pre-approved, Cambrian will hold your mortgage rate for 120 days while you search for your dream home. 

 

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