What Are Red Flags We Should Keep an Eye Out for When Buying a House?


Buying a home is an exciting time. It can be easy to get caught up in the moment and pay attention to a home’s upgrades, overlooking some potential issues. If you’re buying a home for the first time, you may not know some of the important stuff to look out for, that’s why we decided to write this article. Here are three red flags to keep an eye out for when buying a home.


Structural Issues

There’s an old saying – a home is only as good as its foundation. One of the most expensive home repairs is correcting a home’s foundation. A home’s foundation is arguably the most important part of a house. A home with structural/foundations issues could end up costing a homeowner tens of thousands of dollars to fix.

When looking at a home, it’s important to pay extra attention to the basement. For a home with an unfinished basement, it shouldn’t be too hard to see cracks in the foundation. Minor cracks may not be a big deal (they could be related to settling in the home); however, if you notice larger cracks, it could indicate a more serious issue with the foundation.

If the home’s basement is finished, it may not be so easy to see if the home is experiencing structural issues. However, you can still look for signs. For example, if you notice the doorframes aren’t square or have difficulty closing, it may indicate a problem with the home’s structure.

Besides hiring a home inspector, the best way to see if a home has foundation issues is by hiring a structural engineer to do a thorough inspection of your home.


DIY Home Renovations

To quote Red Green from the Red Green Show, “if the women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.”

It’s popular for homeowners to try their own home renovations these days. There’s a video for just about any home renovation on YouTube. The problem is that the renovations are often not as easy as they would seem, but this doesn’t stop the homeowner from trying it nonetheless.

Amateur home renovations are something to be on the lookout for when viewing properties. It’s especially important when you’re buying a flipped home. It’s common for flippers to do the work themselves to save money on home renovations. Problems arise when home renovations aren’t done right.

For example, the basement of my house was nicely done when I moved in, however, I ran into issues. The tiles on the bathroom floor started lifting up and the shower wasn’t installed right, leading to water leaking out of the shower and under the tiles. But that’s not all. The light switch for the fruit cellar wasn’t installed correctly. My father turned it on one day and sparks flew, almost leading to a fire.

Watch for these amateurish renovations. The last thing you want is to worry about burning down your home every time you turn on the lights.


Poor Grading

You may be surprised to hear that a property’s grading is important. The grading of land is often overlooked, but it plays a key role in keeping water out of your house. Sometimes grading can be fixed and sometimes it can’t. Ideally, you want land that slopes away from the foundation of your house.

I wish I had looked closer when I bought my house in August 2012. The grading sloped towards my house. I didn’t think it was a big deal until one morning when I woke up and found my basement kitchen flooded. I was lucky and there wasn’t any major damage, but that’s just a reminder about the importance of paying attention to the grading.


Written by Sean Cooper

Sean Cooper is the bestselling author of the book, Burn Your Mortgage: The Simple, Powerful Path to Financial Freedom for Canadians. He bought his first house when he was only 27 in Toronto and paid off his mortgage in just 3 years by age 30. Sean’s helping others with their mortgages as an independent mortgage broker. Get in touch with him for all your mortgage needs. For a free mortgage consultation, email Sean@BurnYourMortgage.ca or call 647–867–3711.


Sean Cooper