Does this room have a slope to it?
April 25, 2022
In my last blog, I wrote about the ins and outs of home inspections. As a follow up, I thought we could dig a little deeper because sometimes you can see the problems yourself – you just have to know what constitutes an easy fix and what could necessitate a major repair. Of course, even this is subjective – some buyers think having to repaint is a big deal!
When a buyer is looking at a home, they’re often reacting to it emotionally and figuring out if the overall space suits their needs. They don’t always think about small details. So while they are eyeballing whether their sofa will fit, this is what I look out for:
- Are there cracks in the walls or where the walls meet the ceilings? What kind of cracks are they?
- Do the doors close properly? If a door doesn’t, it could mean that the structure has shifted.
- How old are the windows? (Look for the date stamp) If the windows are more than 25 years old, you know you’ll have to replace them in time.
- Basements are where many problems lurk. Is there a smell? If so, is it mustiness or sewage?
- Is there staining or salt on the walls? If there’s scaling of the brick on the outside, you can see if there’s water run off and you know there’s water somehow coming through.
- Open the electrical box and see if there are breakers or fuses to see the age of the wiring.
- How old is the furnace? You can generally tell the age based on the size – if it’s smaller, it’s likely newer.
One question I hear a lot is ‘does this room have a slope to it?’ And often, it does. No Toronto home is perfect. There will always be some small deficiency. Many of the homes downtown were built over 100 years ago so if there’s a wee bit of a slope, it’s not unusual.
A slope in the home doesn’t necessarily indicate a major problem. Neither does a crack in the wall, for that matter. Cracks can occur due to humidity levels in a home. If it’s a diagonal crack then can be sign of a structural shift, but even that doesn’t mean the house is unsound or that it’s a huge concern.
As I mentioned in the previous blog, sellers often will pay for a pre-sale home inspection, but that’s not always as detailed as buyers would like it to be. I always suggest my clients call the home inspector who performed the inspection to ask for more details.
The questions to ask are: Would you be concerned? Are these big things or small things? Would you buy it? Some inspectors will do a recap with a buyer without charge and others will charge a nominal fee, but it’s worth it to get an expert opinion.
Sometimes, homes listed for sale haven’t had a pre-listing home inspection completed and that’s not unusual. So what happens if you fall in love with that home and you are prepared to make an offer without doing an inspection? Although doing an inspection is always advisable, if there’s just no time to complete one and you’re comfortable enough moving forward with an offer, you would have to sign a form acknowledging that you’re removing the home inspection condition from your offer and you understand you’re entering into an agreement without that safety net.
The bottom line is that it’s rare one finds something that is so bad a buyer can’t deal with it. The truth is, everything can be fixed for the right amount of money. A buyer just has to decide whether they wish to remedy the issue and if it’s in their budget to do so.
As a buyer, it’s important to get all your concerns about the house out of the way so you can submit an offer that isn’t conditional upon performing a home inspection. In our competitive market, having any conditions in your offer can work against you.
If you’re curious about what your home may be worth in this market or just have questions about Toronto real estate, please get in touch!