You might be surprised to know that I view homes differently than the average person. Homebuyers look for things like granite countertops and high ceilings. Home inspectors focus on the performance and maintenance of the home. Buyers can see their future investments differently if they think more like Home Inspectors. Once you’ve found the property that interests you, arrange a walk-through with your agent to inspect it. Bring a friend, family member, or tradesman skilled in home inspections. I recommend bringing a flashlight, binoculars and a notepad.
This is not meant to replace a professional Home Inspection. This is to give you an idea of the condition of your property before you make an offer. Your Home Inspector in kitchener can guide you and estimate the cost to fix any deficiencies if you submit an offer.
When I first arrive at a property, the first thing that I notice isn’t the house but the landscaping. Over the years, I have learned that homeowners who take care of their gardens and lawns are more likely to be happy with their homes. This gives me an idea of the process for inspection.
It is recommended that you take two trips around the exterior. Pay attention to how the house sheds water. Note any areas where water pools are next to the foundation. Ensure the downspouts reach at least 4 to 6 feet from your foundation. There may have been a leak in this location in the past. Check the mortar/masonry for cracking or signs of deterioration. The top of any masonry chimney is often damaged. Check the foundation for cracks or crumbling that exceed 5 mm in width. Look out for wood rot in the corners and frames of wood windows, doors and siding. Take a step back, and look at the roof and shingles with the binoculars. The shingles that look curled or deteriorated will likely be worse. You should also inspect the chimney, exterior walls, rooflines, and chimney for bowing, sagging or leaning.
Heating and Cooling
The age of major equipment can tell you a lot. Write down the serial numbers and brands if the furnace, AC, or water heater data plates are available. You can use the Building Intelligence Center website to determine the manufacture date. Although older equipment does not necessarily indicate a poor house, it is a good idea to know what budget you might need.
- High-Efficiency Furnace 15 – 20 Years
- Mid Efficiency Furnace 18-25 years
- Air Conditioner 12-15 years
- Water Heater 8-12 years
Take a look at the basement walls from the outside and inspect the trim, drywall and floors. There may be moisture problems if water stains, mold or other damage. Pay particular attention to areas where the downspouts or grading were not adequate. It could indicate moisture problems if there is a strong, musty odor.
Unfinished basements should be inspected for wood rot at the beams and joists’ joints and the bottoms of any wooden columns. The foundation wall insulation should reach at least half the depth of the foundation.
Inside the Home
Pay attention to the ceilings of bathrooms and top floors of your home when you’re walking through it. This will help you spot signs of water damage. Look below windows for signs of water damage such as bubbling paint or pealing. Check the seals by opening at least one window. Examine the bath and shower enclosures closely to determine their water tightness and general condition.
There is no perfect home.
Homebuyers should seek out homes that meet their realistic expectations. You may need new shingles if you’re buying an older home between 12-15 years old. You may need to make some updates to the electrical or plumbing systems if you’re buying a 70-year-old home. This shouldn’t stop you from buying a beautiful home.
If you consider the lifespan of each component of a house, it is reasonable to estimate the annual cost of maintenance at 1% of its value. You may need to replace the furnace every year, but the roof may be resurfaced in a few years. You will get an average of 1% per year if you add in any unexpected repairs. This is a remarkable rule, even though it does not apply to very inexpensive or extremely expensive homes.