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Common Basement Problems Uncovered During a Home Inspection

When it comes to the home buying process, nobody likes surprises, especially when those surprises involve foundation cracks and mold in the home. Problems like these that are uncovered during the home buying process can stop a deal in its tracks. Today, we were lucky enough to speak to George Mino of GWN Home Inspections. George has been inspecting homes in and around Toronto for a number of years and is here today to offer some insights for both home buyers and sellers.


1- George, you’ve been inspecting homes throughout the GTA for a number of years, what are some of the most common problems you find when inspecting a basement?

The most common is the smell of mildew in the home/ which potential homebuyers do not like. It’s found mainly in older homes and suggests a moisture issue. foundation cracks are also quite common. They can be on the outside and inside and i have noted a lot of outside corner cracks lately on my inspections throughout the GTA.

2- How do potential home buyers react when you find a foundation or water leak issue during the course of your inspection? Is this a major concern for homebuyers and does it cause some people to walk away?


Some buyers will get scared and walk away but for the most part non-structural cracks can be repaired. After this is explained it usually becomes more a matter cost and who will pay for the repair. Costs can vary from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, depending on the type of crack and the repair method that will be used.

3- What about the issue of mold? Nobody wants it in their home, is this a major concern with home buyers and how do they react when you indicate the presence of mold in the home?

It depends on the infestation. Little spots on the caulking in the bathtub can be cleaned and bathroom exhaust fans can be installed or windows can be opened to get the moisture out of the room. Generally if the moisture issue is resolved than the mold issue can be cleaned up. However large infestations (10ft x 10ft ) can and have killed a deal and I have had people walk away even after the seller has agreed to the remediation.


4- How are these issues usually handled? Does the seller or buyer typically pay for the repairs?


The seller typically pays for the remediation as a condition of the sale. It’s usually a better idea to have these things repaired before placing it on the market as an extensive mold issue may devalue the home in the eyes of the potential buyer.


5- If someone is getting ready to put their home up for sale and have known foundation and water issues, what advice would you give them? Should they list the house at a reduced price or have the repairs made before listing?


Foundation issues can be serious and require a professional to identify if they are structural or not. Moisture issues can be as simple as a plumbing leak or a grading issue and can be addressed easily. I tend to error on the side of caution when it comes to through the wall cracks and call for a professional foundation contractor for repair. These repairs should be done before the house goes on the market .


6- Any other advice for homeowners when it comes to foundation and water problems?


Walk around the house and look for grading issues ( the ground should slope away from the house ). Gutters and downpipes should be in good repair and carry the water away from the house . If after a storm there is puddling than upgrade that area. And always look for Cracks in the exposed foundation wall inside and out.


7- Is there anything a homeowner can do before actually putting their home on the market when it comes to spotting problems like this?


Yes, pre-listing inspections are becoming more common. This is where a home inspector like myself is hired before the home is listed to spot any potential problems that should be addresses before the home is actually listed. A pre-listing inspection can uncover problems that can be addresses before a potential home buyer spots them, helping to preserve both real and perceived value of the home.


8- Thanks George, that was great. How can people find you?


You can go to my website at GWM Home Inspections or you can call me at 289-231-6567. I’m available for home inspection services in the Greater Toronto Area.

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