Looking To Buy a New Home? Here Are Some Tips for the Savvy Homebuyer

Buying a home is the purchase of a lifetime, but equally important, it’s also the purchase of a lifestyle- one that should come with a certain level of comfort and security. Just like any kind of investment, it’s key to enter the market educated and confident. With help from our friends at Chubb Insurance, Buntain Insurance has compiled a list of key tips to keep in mind when beginning the search for a new household.


Checks for Outside:

  • Gutters and drains should be cleared of all debris. This is especially important to check if there are trees and shrubs on the property.
  • Check the roof, overhangs, window sills and siding for any signs of wear and tear. If asphalt shingles or wood shakes show signs of curling or cupping, this could be a sign of poor ventilation. Look for peeling paint or signs of rot as this may signal areas of excess moisture. If any of these problems catch your eye, a licensed contractor should be brought in to inspect the areas and make the necessary repairs.
  • Scout the property for potential drainage issues. Ground that does not allow water to drain away from the foundation after a rain or snowfall may result in water seeping in along the foundation and into the basement. Also, if the property is lower than neighbouring land, be sure that water runoff can be diverted away from the foundation. Again, check that the drainage is adequate and clear.

Checks for Inside:

  • Are there dark stains on the ceiling, walls and/or floors? Any of these could be an indication of water damage. Look specifically in the corners of the upper floor as these stains could indicate a leaking roof. Ceiling damage on the lower floor can indicate problems originating from pipes or upstairs’ fixtures. As water stains may be covered by paint, it’s important to check carefully for imperfections. One recommendation to help with this is to bring a flashlight to the home viewing.
  • The condition of the plumbing fixtures. Check for signs of deterioration both in and around fixtures (taps, toilets, visible pipes etc.). Flush the toilets to ensure water flows properly and give the bowl a shake to check that it is firmly sealed to the floor. For sinks, look for stains and signs of leaky faucets. Check under and around the sinks for signs of leaks or previous water damage.
  • The condition of the home details can show if the house has been well cared for or not. For instance, mildew or deterioration around the caulking of the shower/kitchen tiles can allow water to gradually work its way behind the plumbing fixtures and into the home’s walls.
  • Be sure to inspect any appliances that use water. Every year in Canada dishwashers, icemaker connections, washing machines, and kitchen disposals cause millions of dollars in home damages. Watermarks around these appliances can be a key indicator of a potential problem. Check the condition of hoses and connections to be sure they are intact. The washing machine should also be no closer than 4 inches to the wall to avoid kinks in the hoses.
  • Are the water pipes protected from freezing? During the winter, it’s possible for water supply lines in unheated areas of the home to freeze and rupture. Check the plumbing lines that run through crawl spaces, garages, attics and even exterior walls exposed to wind. Although insulation may keep the lines from freezing, a more extensive solution may be necessary.


Checks for the Basement:

  • Age of the hot water heater. On average, most hot water heaters will have a lifespan of 10-13 years. There is usually a date stamped metal label on the unit. If not, the age can be read from the first 4 digits of the serial number, with the first and second numbers representing the month, and the third and fourth representing the year it was manufactured.
  • Is the space dry? Stains or moisture on the walls can be one sign of water seepage. If there is a sump pump, ask if it is in working order or request a demonstration by having water poured into the pit to ensure the pump is functional.

For more information on purchasing Home Insurance for your new home, contact us at one of our three locations.