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Deal Breakers - High Cost Inspection Traps

You Should Know -

Prior To Listing Your Home For Sale


We have found that home inspectors use a checklist of up to 1,700 items that can come under scrutiny during a home inspection. There is a trend that we have become aware of  - we call them the deal breakers - the things you should do prior to listing your home for sale.


Marlene and I have seen many a contract go sideways when issues come up.  Yes, many can be fixed after the home inspection, but a lot of buyers are not interested in getting involved with the "fixes" and would rather purchase a home with no issues.  It's critical that you read this report before you list your home for sale.

If you wait until the home inspector flags these issues, then you will experience costly delays or worse, turn prospective buyers away altogether. Many sellers are doing their own pre-inspections themselves, if they know what they are looking for. You can also hire a home inspector, fix any issues and then put the property for sale.


1. Plumbing Problems

Problems with the plumbing are seen in two different areas.


Leaks – A visual inspection under cabinets, around toilets, and faucets will be the first tell-tale sign you may have a problem.  Blistering cabinet paint or discoloured lino around the toilet or bathtub area can be signs of a leak as well.  Is there "soft drywall" by your tub?  Do your tiles move when you touch them?  A moisture probe will be used to determine moisture content.  Also water stains on the ceilings in your basement should be repaired.


Clogging – An inspector will gauge water pressure by turning on all faucets in the highest bathroom and then flushing the toilet.  If all is not working as it should, then this will be reported to the buyer.


2. Basement Moisture Problems

An inspector will use a probe to determine dampness on walls / crawl space.  Any discoloured flooring will be a sign that you may have a problem.  Some problems are evident due to a mildew odor.  If the basement is unfinished, then cracks will be checked as well as looking for powdery white mineral deposit a few inches off the floor.


What to do?  Seal problem cracks if they are letting in moisture.  Add a sump pump if necessary, or rework you perimeter drains if your problem is severe. A buyer finding out about these types of water problems during the inspection would, most likely, choose not to continue with the contract.


3. Wiring & Electrical Issues

Some older homes don't have proper GFI plugs and grounding.  Others issues that come up are aluminum wiring problems and breaker problems.  If you have aluminum wiring, then you may consider having the wiring connections checked and pig-tailed, especially at the breaker box.  If there are switches, plugs, or lights that aren't working, then it would serve you best to replace, or repair, these items prior to listing.


4. Heating & Insulation Problems

Poorly insulated attics and heating systems that have not be serviced or cleaned are common causes of poor heating.


If your home is 15+ years old, then the heat exchanger in a forced air natural gas system will definitely be reviewed.  If cracked, then the heat exchanger can emit carbon monoxide. 


For hot water heating systems, all zones will be turned on, with the pump and boiler system reviewed.  The expansion tank will be checked for leakage, and zone valves will be checked to see if they are functioning.


All electric baseboards, gas fireplaces and all thermostats will also be checked.


5. Roof

A leaking roof can have many different causes.  Wood shingles or shakes can split, deteriorate, rot, or be blown off.  Asphalt shingles can curl, split, become weathered or be blown off from a wind storm.  Repair leaking gutters and downspouts.  Water from leaking gutters running freely can cause exterior wall problems.  These external problems can then become major internal issues.


Ridge caps and the flashing around vents and chimneys are also common issues that should be reviewed prior to a sale.


6. Attic Ventilation

Poor ventilation in the attic can cause moisture build up in attics.  This can lead to insulation problems as well as mold and mildew issues and premature wear on the shakes or shingles of your roof.


One of our clients had a pipe in the attic that was blowing the moisture from the bathroom fan and kitchen hood vent into their attic for years which created lots of mold issues.  If left unchecked, mold and mildew can cause building material and structural problems. These are big ticket problems and are deal breakers.


7. Wood Rot

Common areas of wood rot are doors, window frames, trim, wood behind stucco siding (if there are cracks or holes in the stucco), decks, deck stairs, trim, soffits, fascia, and fences.


Building inspectors will use a probe to check moisture content in the wood especially when wood has been freshly painted.


8. Brick Work

Another "contract killer" is moisture penetration on brick work especially on chimneys.  Fixing or re-bricking can be expensive, but if left unrepaired, it can cause moisture within the home, insect problems, and in severe cases, the chimney can actually fall.  We have seen this happen.


9. Circuit Breakers

A weak, or over used breaker, can be a fire hazard.  Over use occurs when more amperage is drawn on the circuit than was intended.  15 amp circuits are the most common in a typical home, with larger amp breakers used for stoves, dryers, and electric hot water tanks.


10. How Secure Is Your Home

Inspectors will look for basic safety features that will protect your home.  Check that the locks on windows and patio doors are working, as well as dead bolts on any doors.  There should be at least one smoke detector on each level of your home. Some inspectors recommend carbon monoxide detectors in every bedroom and on every level.


11. Structural/Foundation Problems

An inspector will certainly investigate the underlying footing and foundation of your home as structural integrity is fundamental to your home.


When you list your home for sale with a clean bill of health, unpleasant surprises are prevented.


Call us at 604-859-2341 or email us at and we can recommend a home inspector to you. 

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