The Top 5 Things to Look For When Inspecting Your First Home

By Bo Kauffmann

Over the past few years, many insurance companies in Winnipeg have taken issue with several items such as the below:

  1. Knob and Tube wiring, which is an old style of electrical wiring typically found in homes pre-1950s houses. Insurance companies have started to demand that new home owners remove that old wiring within 30 days of taking possession of their homes. The potential cost? Tens of thousands of dollars, depending on how extensive the wiring is.
  2. Fireplaces and woodstoves. If not up to code, insurance companies will not insure these items, meaning that you will not be allowed to use them.
  3. Aluminum wiring, found in some homes built from 1960-1976. Insurance companies have been asking to get a certified electrician to inspect and ‘sign off’ on this wiring. Minimum cost is around $300 for the inspection, but that could balloon to thousands of dollars if any work is going to be required.
  4. Galvanized pipes (as opposed to copper or Pex). Insurance companies don’t like galvanized plumbing when it is used in pressure-lines, such as the supply lines going to your sinks and tubs. They are less concerned about drain lines, as these are not under pressure. If the insurance company demands that you replace the pressure lines with Pex or copper, significant costs can be incurred by the new home owner.
  5. Other things to be aware of are building materials such as asbestos (a carcinogen if disturbed) which was very common in pre-1980s buildings in many items such as floor tiles, siding, and insulation.

Ideally, if the buyer is NOT involved in a bidding war, asking for a home inspection is an advisable course of action. However, in bidding wars, that may not be possible. In such cases, going for a second look before submitting an offer is a good idea.

These items are not meant to scare the buyer, but rather just to make them aware of the importance of working with a qualified real estate agent.

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