Looking at Homes: A Closer Look

When more than a brief examination of a property is warranted

Second Showings

It is easy to fall in love with a home’s surface appearance, yet remain blind to problems that may make it unsuitable.  If we have seen a home together and you are giving it serious consideration, we will probably return for a second – and deeper – look.  It’s important to remain as objective as possible about the home.

A warm home by Andrew Morell Photography
A warm home by Andrew Morell Photography

I will be there to remind you that while aesthetics can be important, it is necessary to look further; there are areas that we can examine together. Here are some considerations and common problem areas to look for on our second showing.  While few or none of them might be deal-breakers for you, you may wish to jot down some notes about any issues you spot, because they will cost you money to fix if you end up buying the home.

  • Are the walls chipped and in need of paint?  If smaller chores have been ignored, it may be an indication of a broader disregard for home maintenance.
  • Water damage:  Check ceilings and drywall for stains, holes and bulges.  Water leaks can rot wood and create dangerous mildew and mold problems.
  • Test the lights, faucets, radiators, air conditioning, major appliances, even flush the toilets to ensure everything is working as it should.
  • As you walk on the floors, be aware of soft or springy sections.  Excessive squeaking and bumpy floors may be indicative that more than refinishing is needed.
  • Check that doors and windows fit snugly and operate smoothly.  Look for flaked paint and loose caulking; if the wood around windows and doors is not protected from moisture, it can rot away.  Feel for drafts in these areas too; replacing old windows with energy efficient vinyl or wood windows can be expensive.
  • If the grout and caulking around bathroom and kitchen tiles is loose and crumbly, there is a good chance that water is finding its way into the wall or under the floor.
  • Bring a measuring tape to make sure your furniture will fit the dimensions of the home.
  • Take note of storage space; if you plan to bring most of your current belongings with you, make sure your new house is able to store it all!

Home Inspection

As a layperson, how do you really know what’s going on behind the scenes of a home – as in, the foundation and the home’s major systems, like the roof and the plumbing?  If you are serious about putting in an offer on a home, and there is no existing home inspection report provided by the sellers, it is a good idea to get the property professionally inspected.  Particularly in the case of older homes or homes where you suspect there might be an issue (for instance, it is commonplace to conduct a termite inspection on homes located in the Beaches area of Toronto), a home inspection can be a valuable tool, letting you know what future repair/replacement/renovation costs you might be up against if you buy the home.

What does a buyer’s pre-purchase inspection examine?  It gives the buyer an understanding of the house’s overall condition, good or bad.   It will educate both first time and seasoned buyers about homes, their systems and components, and proper upkeep of a home. Once the home inspector has examined the home (which usually takes about three hours and costs approximately $400) taking extensive notes on such things as structural concerns, the state of HVAC systems, moisture, electrical etc., he or she will provide a detailed report that should eliminate any surprises.

As a buyer, you will then know what you can expect, and plan accordingly in your budget for needed repairs.  You’ll be able to make an informed decision on whether the house is a good buy or not.

Jamie will work with you to expand your choices and help you identify the best options by highlighting the features and benefits of specific homes, and helping you assess their condition.  If required, Jamie can also arrange for an appraisal by certified appraisers.

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