How to Identify Hidden Risks in your New Home

How to Identify Hidden Risks in your New Home

Finding your dream home can be a wonderful milestone experience and there’s nothing quite like getting your hands on the keys to a new house! With warmer days ahead, many house hunters may be out-and-about visiting properties and making some big purchase decisions. However, it’s important for both buyers and homeowners to look beyond esthetics and research outside factors to help avoid costly surprises down the road.

A review of Allstate Canada claims data* found that the most frequent and costly home insurance claims across Canada are a result of water damage. Water claims due to burst pipes are the most frequent (at 27%), followed by toilet and shower leaks (at 19%), and hot water tank leaks (at 13%). However, there many other risk for home damage other than those due to water infiltration.

Before committing to a new home or project, homebuyers and owners are encouraged to do their research and work with an expert to complete a home inspection or assessment prior to purchase, maintenance or renovations.

Here are a few things to consider when assessing a home

  • Hire a licensed building inspector to investigate the property’s overall structural status.
  • Bring in a landscaping professional or arborist to evaluate various elements of the front and backyards.
  • Inquire about historical and legal aspects of the property.
  • Get to know regional planning and future projections on real estate and commercial development by consulting the municipality’s plans for urban expansion available at city hall or sometimes even online.
  • Talk to your insurance provider about coverage options and possible limitations to ensure your new home is properly protected.

Homeowners should keep a watchful eye on these types of risks. And while bringing in experts can be an excellent way to uncover hidden hazards, there are many ways you can identify potential risks on your own.

Pay special attention to:

  • Cracks or damage to the foundation inside and out;
  • Missing or curled shingles on the roof and the condition of valleys (where two sections of roof meet);
  • Wear and tear on the patio, balcony, fencing, paving stones, etc.;
  • The condition of the swimming pool, liner, and surrounding deck (heaving and cracking is a bad sign) and fence;
  • Leaky faucets, toilet drips and the age and condition of the hot water tank.

To learn more about what to look for and how to protect your home, we’ve created this Guide for New Homeowner & House Hunters, which provides a list of factors to observe and suggestions on how to address issues.

Buying a home is one of the biggest investments you will ever make. With the proper care and expertise from professionals you can help protect your investment for years to come.

Infographic available for download here.

*Allstate Canada conducted an in-depth analysis of company property claim data to determine the most frequent cause of damages in Canadian households. The study is conducted annually and compares data over a 10-year period. Households claims frequency refers to a percentage of homes insured by Allstate Canada involved in a property damage that resulted in a claim. Claims data is limited to damages for which there was a payout. The data ranks frequency of damage, not severity of loss. The study does not include personal identifying information of Allstate customers.