As the old adage goes, April showers bring May flowers…but they may also help you find your next home, too.
June through October are always the best and busiest months for house hunting – the sunshine of summer and full colours of fall have everyone and their homes looking their best, hiding the secrets that only the pervasive damp of spring or heavy downpour can bring.
Simply put, moisture begets rot. What’s the point of buying the house of your dreams if it sits on a crumbling foundation? Before you sink your savings into the biggest purchase of your life, here are six reasons why you should bring an umbrella before you browse…
The roof, the roof
The first thing you should do upon viewing a house in the rain is look up, buttercup! Some roofs give themselves away immediately – missing or curled shingles, moss, or tiles of different colours (dead giveaway of a DIY patch job).
Indoors, just look for water stains – which may take on the shape of a “puddle” ringed in brown. In some cases, there may just be a drip. Or, interior walls may appear lumpy.
Get your mind in the gutter
If the function of the roof is to keep water from getting into the attic and the home, the function of the gutters and downspouts is to direct rainwater away from the home.
A healthy blast of rain will expose bad gutters in a heartbeat. Are the gutters overflowing at the brim, leaking at the corner joints or bypassing the gutters altogether and cascading behind them?
Are the gutters securely connected to the fascia board so they properly capture the rain runoff from the roof? Are they clean? Where do the ends of those downspouts empty into? Are they connected to storm drains or do they just dangle there unloading oceans of rainwater beside the home’s foundation?
Signs of a flood
If the home is located within a flood zone or close to a river that is known to overflow its banks, you might want to skip purchase.
You don’t need an engineering degree to know that water flows downhill. If the home is sitting at the tail end of an incline, then water is going to be flowing towards that home from all sides.
If the land slopes towards one side of the home, then water is going to flow towards that side. It’s a good idea to check if there are any drainage systems in place to divert that water away from the foundation like an exterior French drain or an interior basement footer drain.
The grass is always…soggy
A walk onto the grassy areas should reveal a few secrets. Is the area excessively muddy, waterlogged or have standing water?
This might indicate poor drainage or reveal that the home is sitting at a low spot where water collects or sits on a high water table. If so, it’s likely bad news for the foundation, basement or crawl space.
One side of a home will get battered by a lot more weather than the other sides. While you don’t necessarily need a rainy day to tell which side gets the majority of the bad weather, a few days of copious rain might help you and your inspector uncover any ongoing water issues on that side of the home which may not be evident during drier times of year.
If you’ve noticed some potential signs of water issues outdoors and the house has a basement, there’s a good chance that it translates to basement issues.
It’s not always visible damage, though…just use your nose. Does the basement smell mouldy and damp? It’s a very distinctive smell that, besides being an indication of moisture issues with the home, can have major health implications and needs to be identified and remove.
If the basement is unfinished, take a look at foundation walls and see if you can spot any efflorescence – the crystalline deposits on concrete and masonry caused by water slowly seeping thorough the concrete, and depositing salts on the surface as the water evaporates.
Efflorescence may be indicative of a chronic drainage problem especially if there are no drainage systems in place.
Also, if you notice a dehumidifier running in the basement, it may be a sign of moisture issues.
Need help with finding a competent home inspector? The Merenda Real Estate Group can help. Interested in buying, selling or leasing a property in Toronto or in California? Get in touch with us directly, or head on over to instagram and reach out to our preferred realtor and California partner-in-crime @RealEstateByRana