half demolished, half renovated house


Requesting a home inspection is a great way to ensure you know exactly what you’re buying. You’re taking initiative and doing your due diligence. The results could be the factor that determines whether or not you move forward in buying a property.

However, there are actually quite a few things that general home inspections don’t cover. In many cases, home inspectors will say these issues go beyond the scope of their inspection and require the help of a specialist.

Here are 5 different inspections you need that go beyond the generic home inspection:  

1. Asbestos

Asbestos is a natural, heat-resistant fibre that is used primarily as an insulator. Before its ill health effects were known, it was used widely throughout the world in houses. Although asbestos is pretty uncommon in newer homes, if you are planning to buy an older property, there’s a very real chance that there is asbestos in the walls. 

Why do you need to worry? Well, if asbestos is disturbed, microscopic fibres can get blown into the air and inhaled. The issue is that asbestos is toxic. So, if you are constantly inhaling it, you are subject to prolonged exposure and irreversible health problems like mesothelioma, pleuritis, COPD, and even cancer. 

Only a professional asbestos inspector and abatement expert can tell if this is a problem in your home. If your home has asbestos, you will need to think long and hard about whether or not you wish to proceed with the sale. You will either need to remove the asbestos or simply ensure that it is covered and there is no risk of it getting disturbed. As mentioned, asbestos is only really dangerous if it’s been disturbed or damaged.

Are you in the market to buy a house or condo? Get started with everything you need to know about home inspections here:

2. Mold

If you’ve ever found a forgotten unidentifiable fruit or vegetable in the back of your fridge, chances are, you’re familiar with mold. Although most types of mold are harmless and do not present serious health risks, when it comes to buying a house, it’s not something you want to deal with. Mold generally signals moisture or ventilation problems, which is something that your home inspector will notice.

Black mold is a specific species of mold commonly found on wet or damp building materials (you know, what houses are made of.) It’s usually found in bathrooms or around windows. Although there is no medical proof of black mold causing serious health problems like cancer, it could cause some discomfort in your home, like worsened allergies or asthma symptoms. And people who are already immuno-compromised are at a much higher risk of developing infections when there is black mold present. 

Removing black mold requires a comprehensive approach. The area needs to be completely disinfected and cleaned thoroughly with bleach or other specialized products. Moreover, the source of the mold needs to be identified and remedied, or else it will just keep coming back. 

3. Termites

Termites are some of the most insidious pests around–they take a long time to develop and can go unnoticed in your home for years. Fully-developed termite colonies can take anywhere from 3-5 years to become mature, and they could take another 3 years after that to cause significant damage to the home. It’s often quite difficult to detect termites until then. 

In Toronto, termite damage takes years before it becomes a true hazard. However, there are a few early warning signs that termites are present. They include:

  • Peeling and bubbling on painted walls
  • Water damage
  • Small holes in your walls or floor
  • Tiny smudges of dirt on the walls 

If you notice any of these issues, call a professional pest and termite control company. The process for removing termites is actually quite simple, and if caught early on, the damage is usually minimal. 

Feeling overwhelmed about buying your first home? Check out some of my other blogs here:

4. Faulty Wiring

One of the most common causes of home fires is faulty wiring. Electrical fires can start quickly and in many cases, the culprit is electrical DIYs. This is why it’s always recommended to hire a professional electrician for electrical projects in the home. 

There are many signs that you might be at risk of electrical issues due to faulty wiring. If you’re constantly getting shocks, lights are flickering or buzzing, or you smell burning in your home, you most likely are experiencing electrical wiring issues. Breakers or fuse boxes constantly tripping is also a sign of concern too. 

It’s a good idea to get an electrician into the home for a wiring audit before something really goes wrong. 

5. Drains

Have you ever wondered why architects recommend not planting trees around septic tanks or sewer lines? The reason has everything to do with the roots. Roots grow downward and are always searching for a source of water–even if that means bursting through your pipes or septic tank. This clogs the drains and causes backups and slow-draining water in the home. 

This type of damage is specifically troublesome because it can be expensive to fix. In some cases, requiring excavation. If you notice dirty water in your home or an earthy smell coming from your drains, you might have this issue. 

But how can you know for sure? Master plumbers can inspect your drains and sewer pipes with tiny cameras on flexible snakes, that way, they can see any obstructions in real-time.

One note of caution, not all drain cleaning services are legitimate, and this industry has seen a recent increase in scammers entering the market. Always look for reputable plumbers and drain cleaning companies to work on your home.

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