The Most Common Problems a Building Inspector Looks for When Assessing A Property

22 August 2018
Forest HIll

House hunting is about to kick into full gear with the fall market rapidly approaching. It’s an exciting time of perusing gorgeous listings and booking showings with your realtor to land the perfect real estate investment for your family.  Our Forest Hill Yorkville team acts swiftly to get clients through the front door to ensure they fall in love with a property that is safe, sound and ready to call home. A critical part of the process is working hand in hand with your realtor to ensure the property you have you eyes on is as magnificent as it appears. Forest Hill Yorkville realtors have established relationships with the industry’s most reputable home inspectors. That’s a huge value add for our clients as it’s proven to ensure they don’t end up falling into an expensive trap.

A home inspection typically lasts about three hours and covers a very wide scope of building elements. A bungalow in Etobicoke, loft in Little Italy, century home in Yorkville and custom-built luxury home in Rosedale all undergo the same level of scrutiny by a professional home inspector. Here’s a list of some of the common problem areas an inspector looks for when assessing a property:

  1. Recognizing a Roof in Need of Repair: A home inspector will gain access to the roof of a home and examine the condition of the roofing materials. Shingles that are curling, missing or covered in moss are instant indicators of a roof in poor health. If the home has an attic it will also be inspected for signs of leaks which indicate it’s time for a new roof.
  2. Examining Plumbing & Electrical: Plumbing and electrical aspects of a home are often hidden behind the drywall however a professional and experienced home inspector will be able to identify potential issues in these areas without opening walls. They will also make sure the sinks, faucets and toilets are functioning normally. They will test water pressure in all “wet” areas of the room including the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry rooms. They will look for leaks in all these areas and make note of anything that could lead to bigger problems down the road.

An inspector will also examine the electrical panel. Many homes have a 100 AMP circuit breaker service while new homes tend to be built with 200 AMP service. It is not uncommon to find 60 AMP fuse panel boxes in older homes. Most lenders will require at least a 100 AMP service. If the home has an old panel box with fuses you could encounter problems getting bank approval for a loan. For this reason and others, a home inspection report should always include detailed information on the electrical panel.

  1. Inspecting the Heating & Cooling Units: These units should be serviced on a yearly basis. A home inspector will look for information on how old these units are and if there is any rust, which could be a sign of neglect. They will also listen for any strange sounds coming from the furnace or air conditioning unit. A well-maintained unit should not make any unual sounds. An inspector will take the time to walk through the home and be mindful of the temperature in each room; ideally it will be consistent, a sign of good air circulation in the home.

  1. Taking Note of Flooring: A home inspector will carefully examine your flooring and make note of what type of flooring exists throughout the home. If they encounter wall to wall carpeting, they will try to find out what’s underneath. This is important as the condition of what you don’t see is valuable in determining if any costs will need to be incurred to repair deficiencies not seen to the naked eye.


  1. Looking for Problems with Moisture and Leaks: Damp or wet areas are a big red flag. Home inspectors will check window sills for soft wood or cracking paint, likely due to water seeping in. They will make note any musty odors. If the home smells earthy and feels damp, this could indicate issues with mold. A home inspector will always ask to see the basement, even if it is unfinished. Water can enter a basement many ways, including through cracks in the foundation walls or foundation slab. Repairing a leaky basement can be very costly. If an inspector notices white material on the walls this could be the result of efflorescence, a crystalline deposit of salts seen on surfaces because of water penetration. Any and all signs of water damage will be documented on a home inspection report.

Forest Hill Yorkville realtors work with registered home inspectors in Ontario and ensure your inspection is thorough and reflects current construction and building standards. To speak with a Forest Hill Yorkville realtor, visit our offices at 28A Hazelton Avenue, call us toll free at 1-844-228-5588 or email us at yorkville@foresthill.com.