During the home hunt, it’s all too easy to fall in love with a house or condo based solely on its appearance. Unfortunately, hidden issues can sometimes lurk just beneath the surface. That’s why it pays to do your due diligence. Of course, there’s only so much you can check for on your own (that’s what a great inspector is for). That said, being aware of some of the most commonly-found home issues can help ensure that you make a more informed decision after touring a living space.

If you’re in the process of looking at homes, here are a few little things you’ll want to keep an eye out for…

1) Water pressure

During viewings, home hunters often forget to do a water-pressure check. You’ll want to turn each shower and sink on and then off. Let the faucets run for several seconds. It goes without saying that weak pressure makes tasks such as showering and washing your hands less enjoyable. In addition, it could be a sign that there’s an issue with a home’s water mainline or heater. While you’re checking the pressure, be sure to also ensure that the water always drains quickly and efficiently. Don’t forget to make sure that all of the toilets flush properly.

2) Kitchen cabinets

When you’re in a home’s kitchen, try opening all of the cabinets and taking a look inside. Is the craftsmanship of good quality? It’s easy enough to refinish a set of cabinets, but knowing whether they’re well put together can help you determine whether they’ll likely need to be replaced sometime in the near future. Make sure that all shelves are level, and that the hinges are attached snugly to the wood (look out for poorer-quality construction methods, such as pins and staples).

3) Light switches and plug sockets

When you’re looking at an older living space, be sure to check that all of the light switches and plug sockets work. Start by turning all of the lights on and off. With regard to outlets, be aware that homes constructed before laptops and cellphones were widely used often have fewer of them. As you walk around, take note of the number of outlets you see (and whether they’re conveniently located). You might also want to bring your phone charger to test them out.

4) The roof

When you’re thinking of buying a home, be sure to ask the owner about the roof’s age. You can often also get some clues about its condition by looking at it from the ground below. Do you see any cracked, broken, or buckling shingles? What about mold, moss, or discolouration? These issues may be purely cosmetic, or they could be a sign of serious decay. Your inspector can do a more thorough job than you can, but being aware of some of the most common problems with a roof can help ensure that you ask the right questions—and start considering whether to factor repairs into your deal.

5) The attic

Home hunters often overlook attics. Unfortunately, when these spaces aren’t well maintained, major issues can pop up down the line. An attic should be well insulated, adequately ventilated, and free from dampness. If you enter one of these spaces and find that it’s really cold, it’s often a sign of poor insulation (just think about what that might mean for your energy bills). While you’re there, check that all vents are clean and unobstructed. Last but certainly not least, keep an eye out for signs of water damage—especially rot and mold.

There’s a lot that can wrong with a home. While you may not be a professional inspector, knowing some of the major warning signs of potential defects can help you make a smarter, more-empowered purchase.

Wondering what else to look out for in a home? Get in touch to learn how to buy a house or condo—without the worry!

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