Tips on what to look for when buying a house

Purchasing a home is one of the most important financial investments you will make. Ensure you are choosing a wise investment. After all, you don’t want to blindly invest in something that may prove to be a risky investment.

You don’t have to be a trained, certified inspector to spot some of the obvious problems with a house. You just need to use your common sense and use the tips below to help you decide what house “looks” like a good investment.

Once you narrow your search down, then you should hire a trained, certified Home Inspector to perform a Professional Home Inspection to identify the not so obvious problems. Here are some tips from various sources that should help you when searching for the right home to invest in:

I highly recommend you hire a Professional Home Inspector before you purchase a home.


Ask questions and lots of questions before you make an offer and get EVERYTHING IN WRITING. Ask the sellers to sign these documents so you have proof if you ever need it at a later date for legal challenges. If they refuse to sign or put things in writing, view this as a red flag and reconsider the purchase.

Here are some of the questions I can think of that would benefit you by asking and getting the answers in writing;

– When was the roof covering replaced? Was any sheathing replaced during that time? – Was the furnace/water heater regularly cleaned and inspected and do they have a log of the dates and times? Ask to see it!! (It may be difficult to give you a copy if the report is stuck to the side of the furnace so just make sure it exists and check for consistent cleaning and servicing.) Don’t be afraid to call the furnace company to verify the services performed. – Is there insulation in the walls and ceiling? If so, what type of insulation? Is there any insulation or items in the home that may contain asbestos that you are aware of? Vermiculite Insulation is installed in some older homes and a small percentage of this insulation may contain traces of asbestos. (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/prod/insulation-isolant-eng.php) – Will they show you copies of electric and heating bills for the year? (Not just the summer) – Have any of the windows or doors been replaced recently? – Are there any new developments in the area that they are aware of that will impact the use and enjoyment of the property? (Check with the City or local Municipality as well to be sure.) – Have there been any fires in the home that they are aware of? – Have any walls been knocked out or any major work done to the structure of the house? If so, did they have a permit and were the renovations approved by an Engineering firm or Architect? – If there is a wood stove, has it been cleaned every year and was it installed by a WETT certified installer? Is the stove a certified stove and is it an EPA stove? – Has the basement ever leaked? Is there a sump pump and if so, does it work? – Has the Electrical been upgraded and is there any aluminum wiring or knob and tube wiring installed? – Has the plumbing been upgraded? Are the water supply pipes plastic or copper? Is the waste pipe plastic? Check to see if there are any Cast Iron waste pipes and check for leakage and condition of pipes. A lot of insurance companies prefer the black plastic pipes over cast iron.
There are so many things to consider when buying a home but I hope this page gives you a little help in making the best choice and when you are ready to make that offer make sure you have a condition that states the sale is subject to a full home inspection, then contact a certified home inspector to go through the house and give you a full report to ensure you are buying what you think you are buying.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me anytime.

Ryan Ervanowitz Armour Home Inspection A Certified and Professional Local Inspector 902-221-3981

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