The fear of every new homeowner is to discover a hidden defect: a dream house can suddenly turn into a nightmare. But what are hidden defects? What are the main hidden defects we should worry about? How can you protect yourself from these nasty surprises?
What Is a Hidden Defect?
A leaky faucet is not a hidden defect. However, water leaking through the roof can very well be a hidden defect.
In order to be considered a hidden defect , a problem must be serious enough to prevent you from fully enjoying your home. The seller must not have disclosed its existence; even if the seller did not know that there was a hidden defect, the seller is still responsible. In addition, a home inspector must not have found any signs of its presence.
Finally, the problem must be serious enough to justify not proceeding with the sale or having to lower the price, if it had been known.
The Top 5 Unpleasant Surprises
1. Water infiltration or a cracked foundation
A poor or cracked foundation, a leaky roof, or a faulty drain: any one of these problems has the potential to give you a hard time. Water infiltration in the roof or the basement can have serious consequences: the damage can be severe during storms or spring floods (if you live near a river).
Mould in homes can be hidden under a thick coat of paint or between two walls. Mould can have a major impact on health, especially for children. If you find it in your home, it can be expensive because it often requires replacing large areas of the wall to get rid of it.
3. Nonconforming electrical circuit
Who hasn’t tried to save a few dollars by doing some electrical work themselves? Electricity seems so simple! The problem is that you need to know what you’re doing to “game” the electrical system of a property. And if the previous owner chose to alter the electrical system themselves, it may not always be up to code … and it may be dangerous! You are likely to remember the bill to replace the wiring and electrical panel for a long time!
4. Rotten attic
Water infiltration or poor ventilation can easily destroy the structure of the roof. If you are not careful, you will end up with a rotten attic.
5. A weakened structure
If you are doing major renovations to a house, you typically need a permit. The problem is that previous owners may have made small changes to the house’s layout without realizing that they were weakening the structure. For example, they may have moved a load-bearing wall without realizing it.
How Do You Protect Yourself from a Hidden Defect?
The first thing to do to avoid any bad surprises is to team up with a real estate broker. They will be able to quickly spot signs of potential problems. They will also help you keep a cool head and not buy properties without a pre-purchase inspection, among other things.
Indeed, to prevent your dream from turning into a nightmare, it is crucial that you call in a building inspector. This expert will closely examine every corner of the property you are interested in. They will then give you a detailed report of all the problems they found, big and small. Their expertise and the multiple verifications they make will allow them to give you an accurate portrait of the condition of the house.
Do you really want to avoid any nasty surprises? Have a real estate broker guide you and have your home inspected by qualified professionals.