Category Archives: Home inspections

How A Bad Reno You Don’t Even Know About Can Cost You

With housing markets surging in certain parts of the country, most notably Calgary, many potential homebuyers are choosing renovated homes. But while these homes might look inviting and warm, the reno could be hiding something cold, dark and potentially very harmful to the wallet. Whenever you are considering investing in a home that has had ANY renovations in Calgary, even minor ones, you should double-check a few things first.

Is the Reno a “Lipstick Job”?

This is a term often used in the real estate and home renovation industries to refer to a renovation that was not done thoroughly or correctly (e.g. not properly dealing with older plumbing or electrical, not upgrading insulation, etc.), in an attempt to hide potential hazards or other undesirable things from prospective homebuyers.

Questions to ask:

-Why were the renovations done?
-Was it to fix or hide damage like flooding or fire?
-Are these issues truly fixed or just covered up?
-If they are just covered up, are you prepared to re-do the renovation and ensure it’s done properly?
-What will it cost to fix this renovation if required?

Hiring a professional home inspector is the easiest way to get these answers.

Does the Home Have Proper Permits and Inspections for the Work?

This is a step that is often a dead giveaway for whether a renovation was done correctly or not. It is essential to do if you are considering a home with renovations, but it is nevertheless often overlooked.

Questions to ask:

-Were construction/renovation permits received for the work?
-If so, what was the scope of the work?
-Were the corresponding inspections passed or failed?
-If inspections were failed, what will happen if you buy the home?

Calling the City is the easiest way to find these answers. 

If you are still not sure about whether or not a renovated home in Calgary is worth buying after gathering all the information noted above, call Jameswood Homes for a quote. Then, you can factor in the projected costs of new renovations into the price of the home in order to make your new home safe, beautiful and fully customized to your needs and style.

- The Jameswood Team

Home Inspections – Useful, but not miracle workers

Home inspections are a useful tool for your purchasing arsenal and one way to get a feel for what kind of remedial work may be required if you decide to undertake a home renovation project. It is good to know what can be wrong or right about a property and an inspection is less and less an option should you be mortgaging the property through a larger financial institution.

The profession is licensed by the Province of Alberta and is dependent on proof of certification/courses, etc. The problem with home inspections is that they are non-invasive. This is extremely limiting in what can be actually be done for an inspection. You cannot go around cutting holes in walls to see what is really going on with that stain in the drywall or other visual observations that can make one question the root cause and net effect of what they are seeing.

You can remove electrical plugs and switch covers, check for continuity in circuits, and assess the state and type of wiring. You can remove floor vents and fan covers, and open doors and drawers and the like, but you cannot go much deeper than that. You can use infrared cameras to detect cold spots and heat loss, or you can use moisture meters to detect excessive moisture, but you cannot be “invasive” and leave holes everywhere to confirm certain problems that you think may be lurking below the surface of a home.

This leads to very limited inspections as well as disclaimers and false or limited information. “To the best of my knowledge…” and so on will be what the home owner hears. You cannot fully understand what may be causing problems until you become invasive and see what is really going on. This means money being spent, quotes given, and home renovation work undertaken, all with mostly limited knowledge and a best guess scenario. If you have bought a home and then start undertaking remedial work, it can become very expensive very quickly, especially when you are working off of limited information from a non-invasive home inspection that can usually only verify the tip of the iceberg. Take inspection reports with a grain of salt and in the end it is always caveat emptor buyer beware. Unless you are on a home renovation TV show, you will be the one paying the bill.

Don James