House hunting, deciding whether to stay in Toronto or Brampton, and finally having the finances necessary to move into your favorite city and grow roots is all but exciting to any homebuyer. After all, this chance doesn't always happen for just anyone – you've worked hard for it.

But along the way, I've always noticed as an agent that some homebuyers would want to settle for 'less' than they deserve. If they're not working with a dependable agent who prioritizes their own profit, it could mean hidden expenses that the homebuyer might be unprepared to handle.

Here are some things that most new homebuyers overlook when prospecting – a few that I've noticed in my years looking for properties for my clients and responsible agents should tell their clients beforehand.

1. Structural Issues

One of the most critical aspects to evaluate in a potential home is its structural integrity. Signs of structural issues can include cracks in the foundation, uneven floors, or doors and windows that stick. These issues can be costly to repair and may indicate deeper problems with the house’s construction. If a home inspection reveals significant structural concerns, it might be wise to reconsider or negotiate for repairs.

2. Water Damage

Water damage can lead to mold, mildew, and long-term structural damage. Look for signs such as stains on the ceilings or walls, a musty odor, or visible mold growth. Check the basement and attic for any signs of moisture. Persistent water problems can be difficult and expensive to fix and can impact your health. If the home has a history of water damage, it’s crucial to understand the extent and ask the seller to ensure proper repairs have been made before you sign the contract.

3. Electrical Problems

Outdated or faulty electrical systems can pose a serious safety risk. Flickering lights, frequently tripped breakers, and warm or discolored outlets are all signs of potential electrical issues. A thorough inspection by a licensed electrician can reveal if the electrical system needs significant upgrades, which can be a costly endeavor. If the house has extensive electrical problems, it might be best to look for another option.

4. Plumbing Issues

Plumbing problems can range from minor leaks to major pipe bursts. Signs to watch for include low water pressure, slow drainage, or unusual noises in the plumbing system. Check under sinks and around toilets for leaks or water stains. Additionally, older homes may have outdated piping materials that need replacing. Major plumbing repairs can be disruptive and expensive – and it can be annoying and frustrating if you don't know about them before signing the deed.

5. Pest Infestation

Evidence of pests such as termites, rodents, or insects can indicate significant problems. Termites, for example, can cause extensive damage to the wooden structure of a house. Look for signs such as droppings, nests, or gnaw marks. A pest infestation can be a persistent problem and might require extensive treatment to eradicate – which can be quite expensive.

6. Neighborhood Concerns

While the house itself is important, the surrounding neighborhood plays a crucial role in your quality of life. Consider factors such as crime rates, noise levels, and proximity to amenities like schools, parks, and shopping centers. Visit the area at different times of the day and week to get a sense of the neighborhood dynamics. A house in an undesirable location may affect your lifestyle and future property value.

7. High Maintenance Costs

Some homes may come with hidden costs that are not immediately apparent. Older homes, for example, may require more frequent repairs and maintenance. Consider the age and condition of major systems such as the roof, HVAC, and appliances. If a home inspection reveals numerous issues that could lead to high maintenance costs, you might want to reconsider your choice.

8. Incompatible Layout

The layout and design of a house should meet your needs and preferences. Think about how you’ll use the space and whether the layout supports your lifestyle. Consider factors such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the size of the kitchen, and the flow between living areas. A house that doesn’t fit your needs may lead to costly renovations or dissatisfaction down the line.

9. Title Issues

Before finalizing a purchase, ensure there are no legal issues with the property's title. Title problems can include unresolved liens, boundary disputes, or unclear ownership. A thorough title search can reveal these issues, which can complicate or even invalidate your purchase. Title insurance can protect you, but significant issues might be a reason to walk away.

10. Gut Feeling

Sometimes, your intuition can be a powerful indicator. If something feels off about the house, or if you have lingering doubts, it’s essential to trust your instincts. Buying a home is a significant commitment, and you should feel confident and comfortable with your choice.

There you have it – these are the things I would say are important to know before you sign the contract. Also, find a reliable agent if you haven't yet. I'm also able to help you as a registered real estate agent for the biggest cities in Canada. Hi, I'm Mats the Agent, and we can talk by calling me today or filling out my form above!