House Shopping

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Things to Watch for When House Shopping

When purchasing a home, there are many things you need to keep in mind. It can be easy to be distracted and blinded by all of the aesthetic “pretty” things the home has to offer. But you need to be sure to check for major issues such as foundation cracks and water marks in the basement. Just because a house looks beautiful, it may not mean it is structurally sound or free of all problems. Having one of our trusted real estate agents by your side at your showings is sure to help. Our team is able to see all of the nitty-gritty things while you can enjoy checking out the kitchen and bedrooms. If you want to learn about the things to watch for when house shopping, read on! 

We always recommend that you have a home inspection done on the home you are about to purchase. When in a balanced or Buyer’s market, you can easily purchase a home with an offer conditional upon a home inspection. In this highly competitive Seller’s market, we are currently in, it is more difficult to win a bidding war when you have a home inspection condition. But, there is a way around this – though you will take some risk. You can have a home inspection before placing your offer to make sure the home will suit your needs.

House Shopping Checklist:

Windows - Photo by: Freepik / Wirestock


Be sure to look at all of the windows in the house. Depending on the age of the home, some (or all) of the windows may be original wood frames. Wood may be rotting and the windows could be on their last legs. These windows won’t be as efficient as newer windows either, which could mean your heating and cooling costs may be higher. There is also a risk of moisture and/or mould which can pose a health risk as well. Newer windows will also make resale in the future easier. You can always have new windows installed after you move in but be prepared for a hefty expense.

Plumbing - Photo by: Freepik / PV Productions

Plumbing and Electrical

Though older homes boast character and charm, many of them were constructed with different materials than what is used today. Many older homes will have the original plumbing and electrical, which may give you problems down the road. Common plumbing issues may reside within lead pipes, which is highly toxic and dangerous for your drinking water. Failing sewer lines can also be a major issue that may cause an unattractive odour in your home. When it comes to electricity, older houses may be wired with a knob-and-tube system. This older wiring system dates as far back as the late 1800s and was commonly used in homes until the ’40s. The dangers of knob-and-tube include fire hazards in 3-prong plugs. It is also higher risk in moisture areas such as the kitchen and bathroom. It may also be more difficult to get insurance when the house has a knob-and-tube system. 

Efflorescence - Photo by: Everdry Waterproofing

Water Damage

Be sure to always check for water damage when house shopping. No one wants to ever experience a flooded basement, so you will want to make sure to check the walls for water spots before making your purchase. A few common signs of water damage are a musty odour, peeling paint or wallpaper, lifted floor tiles, or water stains. The way to detect a water stain in an unfinished basement is to look for a substance called efflorescence on the concrete. Efflorescence will have a white salty appearance to it. Your home inspector will be able to spot any water damage right away. This is another reason why we always suggest having an inspection before making your purchase. 

Foundation Crack
Foundation Crack - Photo by: HD Foundations Inc.


The foundation is arguably the most important aspect of a home and the biggest thing to look for when house shopping. Without a strong foundation, your home may have all kinds of structural problems. Be sure to check the outside of the house to look for cracks in the foundation. Also, if there are any unfinished areas of the basement, you can also check the foundation there as well. Vertical hairline cracks may be fine, but long horizontal or diagonal cracks could be a major issue. When assessing a foundation crack, check for the direction the crack goes in and its thickness. If you are in doubt, have a professional come out to take a look. For more information on foundation cracks, check out this article

Roof Replacement
Roof Replacement - Photo by: Restoration Builders


It is imperative to get the age and the type of roof at the home you are looking at. Typically speaking, an average asphalt shingle roof will last 15-18 years. Laminate shingles average about 24-30 years and wood and metal roofing can last 30-40 years. You will want to make sure that the roof is in good shape so you don’t have to replace it in the short term. Replacing a roof can be quite costly and you may have other places you want to spend your $15,000 so be sure to check out the roof. Our agents always take a look at the roof at showings and can let you know how they are looking. Your home inspector will also give you a great analysis of what kind of shape your roof is in.

Sunny Backyard
Sunny Backyard - Photo by: HD Wallpapers

Which Way Does the House Face

This is something that often gets overlooked when looking for a home. Depending on the weather and the time of day you are at your showing, you may not notice where the sun is. If you are looking for a home with afternoon sun in the backyard, you will need to be mindful of where the sun rises and sets in accordance with the house. Perhaps you don’t want your primary bedroom to be west-facing due to the heat from the sun. You may not want your driveway and the front of your house to be north facing as it may take longer for the snow and ice to melt. There are all kinds of things to keep in mind when looking at the way your potential house will face. 

Storage Space
Storage Space - Photo by: Freepik / Wirestock

Storage Space

Do you have a lot of stuff? Does the home you are looking at coming with enough closet space to store everything? Is there a garage or a basement to store things? Perhaps you need a home with a double garage so both vehicles can park in it? Is there a shed in the backyard for lawn care tools? How about the amount of cabinet space in the kitchen? Is there a pantry or a linen closet? These are all things that should be taken into consideration before you purchase a home. When you have a lot of belongings, you will to need a place for everything. If you live a minimalist life, perhaps storage space isn’t as important to you and you can skip this when house shopping!

Room Sizes
Room Sizes - Photo by: Freepik / Wirestock

Room Sizes

When looking at a home to purchase, you need to try and picture all of your things in the space. Is the bedroom large enough for your king-sized bed? Is the size of the kitchen big enough to cook on, is there enough counter space? What about the bathroom, do you need a tub and a shower? Is the living room large enough for your big screen? How about a dining room or an eating area? You are going to need to make sure that your things are all going to fit nicely into this house or else you may need to sell some of your furniture! 

In conclusion, we hope that these tips can help the next time you are looking to purchase a new home. Remember that when you hire The Susan & Moe Team, our expert agents will look for things that you may not consider when house shopping. If you ever have any questions about the tips above or anything else involving purchasing a home, feel free to contact us at any time. We are always happy to help out and share our expertise. Our team also has a great home inspector who can help you to make a decision on whether a home is going to work for you and your needs. Generally speaking, the older the home, the more repairs and problems you will run into. But, some newer built homes can also have structural issues, so it is always a good idea to have a home inspection.

If you are currently looking to purchase a home, give us a call. We would love to help you find your dream home!