5 Questions to Ask About a Home Before Making an Offer

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Few feelings compare to walking into your dream home, especially after you’ve searched for what feels like forever for “the one.” We’re talking about the property that checks all your boxes, the one you can imagine living in the moment you step inside. 

If you’re like most buyers, you’ll be tempted to draft up an offer the moment you leave. But before you do, there are a few things you’ll want to look into.

Your West End Toronto real estate agent and a reputable home inspector can help ensure that you make a fully informed purchase. This is critical because it’s very easy to fall in love with the location and character of a home that might end up being less than ideal. 

That’s why we’ve put together this essential guide to help you know what to look for and what questions to ask before placing an offer on any particular home. With that in mind, here are five things you’ll want to know whenever a listing catches your eye. 

1) How Old Is the Roof?

This might not be something you think about in your day to day life, but should be top of mind when hunting for your ideal new house. Being open minded about certain repairs and updates can help you find your hidden gem in a challenging market. 

But there’s no escaping the fact that some repairs are just not worth it. For example, replacing a roof is extremely expensive. So if you’re thinking of buying a particular home, be sure to ask about the age of this vital structural component. 

A qualified inspector will help verify what the sellers tell you. For reference, a roof built with high-quality materials will usually last around 20 years – though some will provide even more mileage. Either way, knowing the answer to this crucial question will help you make a more informed home purchase.

If you fall in love with a house that needs roof repairs, be sure to factor this significant expense into your budget. Otherwise, you might want to keep searching for a move-in-worthy option.

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2) When Was the HVAC System Last Serviced?

Efficient heating and cooling systems are non-negotiable when searching for a home in a climate like Toronto’s. Without it, you’ll be shivering in the winter and sweltering in the summer.

Much like a defective roof, replacing a faulty HVAC system can put a massive dent in your finances. So the last thing you want is to learn that the one in your new home is functioning poorly after you’ve moved in. To prevent this outcome, get as much prior information as you can. 

  • When was it last inspected? 
  • What type of warranty does it have? 

You may also want to try running it yourself during your home viewing to see if the heat and air conditioner kick in as expected.

3) Which Appliances Have Been Replaced?

The inclusion of appliances may not make or break your purchasing decision. That said, it can get pricey if everything stops working one after the other shortly after you move in. Think of what is essential for your busy lifestyle.  

  • If the home you’re thinking of buying contains a dishwasher, when was it installed? 
  • What about the fridge? 
  • Will you need to replace the natural gas stove top a year after you take possession?

As is the case with other major systems in a home, you may be able to negotiate for a lower price if these items need to be repaired or replaced. Don’t forget to ask for the accompanying warranties!

4) How High Are the Utility Bills?

Some homes are a lot more energy efficient than others. For this reason, you want to do some digging into what the typical utility bills look like for any house you’re considering. You may not feel like your new place was a great deal if the walls are drafty and it costs a small fortune to heat every winter.

Many home sellers will be happy to show you some of their past bills, which should give you a fairly good indication of how much you’ll end up paying each month. You’ll need to add these expenses to your monthly carrying costs to be sure you can comfortably afford the home for many years to come. This information will help you make a more informed purchase—and budget for the future, too.

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5) How Well Insulated Is the Home?

Speaking of energy-efficiency, proper insulation can have a major impact on your bills – not to mention your general comfort and wellbeing. Not all insulation is created equal, so you’ll want to do some research on the topic before you begin placing offers.

If a house catches your eye, be sure to ask about the quality and type of insulation that’s used throughout. Depending on the time period during which the property was built, asbestos may be a concern. The hazardous material was used frequently in homes built before the 1980s and occasionally even as late as 1990. Though undisturbed asbestos is not known to cause potential health risks, it might be a concern if you plan on any significant remodelling. It’s one more aspect that is worth asking your inspector about!

Preparing to buy a home? We know the process inside and out, and we’d love to walk you through it! Get in touch today at or call 416-769-3437 to get started!