Red flags are nothing for home buyers to fear. They’re simply helpful hints indicating potential issues to resolve.

After all, the goal of visually inspecting a property isn’t to confirm that it’s perfect; it’s to find out what may be wrong with the home so you can handle it. 

With that in mind, here are the top five red flags to look for when buying a home in Toronto.


1. Stains and touch-up paint

Stains on walls and ceilings are perhaps the biggest red flag in real estate. These stains often indicate water intrusion, whether from a leaky pipe or a leaky roof. 

Fresh patch jobs and touch-up paint also deserve a closer look. These quick fixes could be masking telltale stains.

Check any suspicious stains or touched-up spots with a moisture meter to see if the area currently contains excessive moisture. 


2. Clicking sounds from the woodwork

Did you know you can actually hear termites chewing? 

Visible signs of termites, like tunneling, are often only present when the damage is advanced. But if you can hear clicking from inside the woodwork, you may be hearing termites.

It’s well worth hiring a professional to inspect the woodwork if you’re concerned about the possible presence of termites. 


3. Flickering lights

Not only do flickering lights give a home a haunted vibe, they can also be a sign of more serious issues.

Flickering lights probably mean there’s an issue with the electrical work. In many of Toronto’s older homes, the electrical wiring can be outdated. 

Electrical issues are high-priority. Hiring an electrician to rewire the home should be on the top of your to-do list if you buy a home with outdated electrical work.


4. Large trees close to the home

Large trees close to the home can cause problems. Not only can the roots interfere with pipes draining away from the home, but they can potentially crack the home’s foundation.

If you notice large trees close to the home, take a look at the door frames inside the home. Doors hanging off-center in their frames can indicate problems with the foundation. Multiple vertical cracks in the walls are also a sign of possible foundation issues.

Hire professionals to assess the property if you’re concerned that trees may be causing damage.


5. Strong scents, good and bad

Mold and mildew release a musty smell that’s hard to ignore. But the smell can be covered up by air fresheners. 

A few candles are standard in any home, but if the home smells overwhelmingly of chemical air freshener, or if the windows are left open on a cold or rainy Toronto day, there may be cause for suspicion.

As with all the red flags on this list, strong scents shouldn’t be a deal breaker. Just take a moment to look a little closer. And if a problem does exist, you can typically work through it.

Don’t let a red flag keep you from your dream home.