If you’re in the market to buy a house in the GTA, there’s a lot of due diligence that you and your REALTOR will have to do. Here’s a list of 10 important questions to ask before making an offer:
1. Has the house been treated for termites?
If you’re buying a house in Toronto, you may very well be buying in a neighbourhood with termites. We wrote about termites a few years ago – here’s a link to our All About Termites if you want to find out more.
2. Have there been any water issues in the basement?
The last few years haven’t been kind to Toronto homeowners and given some of the basement flooding that’s gone in, most Sellers should know if they have a wet basement. Find out if there have been any issues and what (if anything) the Sellers did to waterproof the house.
3. Is there any knob and tube electrical wiring in the house?
Much of Toronto’s housing stock is a century old, and many houses still have knob and tube wiring. Knob and tube wiring is often hard to find and given a house may have changed several times in the last few years, the Sellers themselves may not know they have knob and tube – but it’s an important question to ask.
Related: Knob and Tube Wiring
4. Can I get copies of the hydro and gas bills?
It’s important to know how much your utility bills are going to be, and there’s no better way than asking the Seller for their bills. Unusually high or low bills are a good indicator of the energy efficiency of the home.
5. Have there been issues with any of the neighbours?
Here’s where you have to hope for some honesty (smart Sellers will disclose any ongoing issues). It never hurts to Google the address of the home you want to buy to see if there have been any issues nearby.
6. Were the renovations completed with permits? Are copies of those permits available? Have the permits been closed?
If you’re buying a home that’s been renovated, this is an important question – a lot of renovations require permits (and thus get inspected), but it doesn’t always mean that the homeowners got the permits. We often run into renovations that should have had permits and didn’t, so each house has to be evaluated separately.
Related: Do I Need a Building Permit?
7. Is anything in the house rented?
In Toronto, it’s pretty common for hot water tanks to be rented and it’s important to know all the costs you’ll be taking over. Other potential rentals include security systems and air conditioning units.
8. Is there any history of pests?
Always a good question to ask. It’s safe to assume that most houses have issues with racoons.
9. Are the pipes lead? Has the supply line from the city been changed?
10. Is there anything else about the house we should know?
Sellers have a duty to disclose anything that could materially affect the buyer’s enjoyment of the house. This is always an important question to ask.
Related: The Duty to Disclose Defects
Related: 99 Mistakes Buyers Make
Before you make an offer on a house, make sure to ask the right questions.