Conducting a walkthrough of a home can be a jarring experience. You have a wishlist, a set of expectations, and a list of red flags to avoid. Can you get everything you want? Unlikely. But, you can come pretty close.
If you aren’t an experienced home builder, some common red flags might slip past you. Thankfully, the experienced team at Jeff King Real Estate has seen it all when it comes to home walkthroughs and we’re here to help you get the most out of the process.
Read on for our top things to look out for when viewing a home so that you can confidently shop the Nanaimo real estate market.
Cracks In Walls
Cracks in the wall of a home are one of the biggest red flags you can encounter. To be clear: cracks in drywall less than a few feet long are okay, but anything larger than that is a no go–especially if it is noticeably discoloured.
There is a low chance that a crack like this means nothing. It is often a sign of movement, indicating that there may be structural problems with the home. Inquire with the seller about the crack. If they can’t explain where it came from, it could end up being a big problem for you.
Ask About The Roof
Since most home showings don’t include a visit to the rooftop, it is on you to inquire about what kind of shape it is in. Ask how long ago the roof was installed and what materials it is made out of (this could include tar and gravel, asphalt, steel, or wood).
Jot down the average lifespans of some common roofing materials beforehand so you know when you may need to make replacements. For older homes, don’t be afraid to seek an expert’s opinion. Older homes often have more layers of roofing to replace, where it’s common to find problem areas.
Plumbing is an area that you should always be concerned about. Try out every faucet and showerhead in the house to make sure that they have adequate water pressure, and check toilets for backups.
Many home visitors will also check the smell, taste, and temperature of the water – which is something you will notice every day if something is wrong. While you are near the bathroom, check the flooring for unexpected sagging or dipping, which could be a sign of rot or other structural problems.
Try Out Windows
Low-quality windows creak and groan, and warped frames make it hard to close or lock them. This may not be a huge problem for one or two of your windows, but what if you need to replace windows for the whole house?
Window replacements are expensive but leaving those old single-pane windows in place results in a higher heating bill since they don’t keep the cold out.
Explore Storage Options
If the owner is still living in the home, you may feel that it is inappropriate to peer into their belongings during your visit. Trust us, it isn’t.
You will need to know exactly how much storage there is in the home for your belongings when the time comes, so don’t stress about exploring closets, cabinets, and other storage spaces.
The Basement: Where Big Problems Begin
The basement is a great indicator of the structural integrity of the home. Moisture is a big problem whether it is dry or wet outside, so look for any wet spots (especially in dark, faraway corners).
Chalky white substances on walls, discoloured paint, or rotting wood are also signs of water intrusion.
It’s not out of line to ask that stored belongings be moved so that you can view every part of the basement. Even if the current owner isn’t meaning to “hide” anything, you deserve to know exactly what shape the space is in.
A good home viewing isn’t just about what you find inside. The exterior is important too, especially what can damage the exterior. Look for tall, older trees near the property. These are at the highest risk of falling during a bad storm (anyone buying real estate in Nanaimo should know that these weather events do happen).
Aside from falling trees, roots growing into your basement and bug infestations are other less-known concerns with large trees on your property. Plus tree removal is an expensive process, especially if you live in a dense, hard-to-maneuver lot.
House flipping is prevalent wherever the market is hot, and Nanaimo’s real estate prices make the city attractive for many buyers.
Ask your real estate agent about how long the home was owned by its previous owners. A short turnaround time means that it will be important to “read between the lines”. Newer fixtures, flooring, and other aesthetic features could be hiding deeper structural problems.
If you start to feel concerned about this, inquire about the existing warranties attached to the home, and whether they are transferable to a new owner.
Thinking About a Fixer Upper?
In our blog post on fixer upper homes, we talked about what to look out for when finding a home that you will be putting some work into.
If you notice the red flags listed above (especially if they are structural), we recommend bringing an architect or licenced home inspector around to a second home showing so that you can have a professional opinion of what you are getting into.
How to Have a Successful House Viewing
There’s no better way to feel confident about your house viewing than working with a realtor that you can trust. At Jeff King Real Estate, we understand the Nanaimo real estate market deeply and bring over a decade of experience helping buyers buy property in B.C.
Want to learn more about working with us? Get in touch today.