Many people dread the home inspection portion of house hunting. There’s nothing worse than getting excited about a potential dream home only to find out it has major structural issues. Home inspections, however, are a necessary part of any serious offer and they can save you a lot of money and headache down the road. Here are some of the most common things they turn up, and what they might mean for your dream home:

Electrical and Plumbing Issues
Non-standard plumbing or electrical that’s not up to code can sometimes be found in older homes, especially those with knob and tube wiring from the pre-1950’s era. This is a crucial step in the inspection because outdated wiring or plumbing can be an outright hazard at worst, or at the very least prevent you from updating appliances or putting in that giant soaker tub and walk-in shower you wanted.

Water Damage
A home inspection can detect water damage that’s ongoing or historic damage, say, from a flood that wasn’t properly rectified. This is important because not only can ongoing water damage impact your finishings or aesthetics, but it can cause mold or even structural damage.

Heating and Cooling
Things like inconsistent insulation, aging windows or problems with an HVAC system can cause your home to overheat or refuse to warm up. A home inspection will tell you what you need to do to rectify this, which could be as easy as re-caulking your windows or as expensive as replacing your entire HVAC system.

Many new homeowners fall into the trap of buying a home only to discover that the hot water tank has almost reached its life expectancy. A home inspection will determine whether major equipment like a furnace, hot water tank, pool filter and related items are at or near the end of their life. Replacing things like these can be a hefty expense, so it’s crucial to know this before you make an offer.

Structural Damage
While it’s uncommon for a home inspection to turn up major structural damage that a seller hasn’t mentioned, it does happen in Canada. Cracks or shifts in the foundation can be a major cause for concern and this is definitely something you want to know about before you decide to make an offer, as fixing a foundation comes with a major cost.