Damage To Look For When Buying A Home

Julie and Daniel Desrochers from Desrochers Realty Group and EXP Realty share what you should look for if you’re buying a home after a wet and snowy winter. They share their thoughts below! Foundation/Structural problems:

  • Correcting foundation/structural issues can be one of the costliest repairs to a home
  • If the basement is unfinished it is easier to see if there are any cracks or movement in the walls
  • Minor cracking can just be a sign of settling but large cracks can be a sign of structural problems
  • If the basement is finished, you can look at the exterior walls and also look for uneven door frames throughout the home and multiple doors having a hard time closing
  • If there are issues, they can be fixed so it doesn’t always mean you shouldn’t buy the home, you just have to factor the price of the repairs into your offer
  • Wall braces and anchors can be installed to fix the problem and make the walls sometimes sturdier than they were to start with

Water issues – Poor drainage/grading:

  • One of the biggest issues we see that makes people walk away from a house are water issues
  • Walk the perimeter of the house
  • Make sure dirt adjacent to the foundation slopes away
  • Look for gutters, make sure downspout extensions are pointed away from house – we often see a house with gutters and no extensions on the downspouts, so the water is just pooling and running back towards the house
  • Look for cracks in the exterior walls and foundation
  • Look for any mold in basement or stains on the walls

Check to see if proper permits were pulled:

  • When purchasing a home that has ever had work done to it or updates we suggest checking to see if proper permits were pulled.
  • You want to make sure the work was done correctly, no permits could be as sign that the homeowner cut corners.
  • If you want to obtain the building permit after the fact the city may require you to tear out part of the work to show that it was done correctly. For example, plumbing work that is now covered up by drywall
  • We get asked all the time from homeowners if they should pull a permit when doing work and tit is always a resounding YES!

Odors & strong air freshener smell:

  • We are always a little cautious when we walk into a home that has a strong air freshener smell
  • This sometimes means that the sellers are tying to cover up mildew or pet odors
  • A musty odor could mean there is a moisture/mold problem in the home


  • Was used in a lot of older homes, it is a flame retardant
  • The EPA banned it in 1989
  • If there is asbestos, found most commonly in ceiling and floor tiles and wrapping around pipes
  • Wrapping around pipes is easy to see but harder to tell if there are asbestos tiles, can have them tested
  • Since asbestos can be dangerous when removed you have to have an abatement company remove it, which can be a lot more expensive than planned for
  • Not a reason to walk away from a house as a lot homes have asbestos just something you need to budget for
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