Buying a home is a top to bottom affair. You should pay close attention to every aspect of a home when you’re looking around, including the basement. Whether a basement is renovated, not renovated, or a separate apartment, be sure to inspect any prospective home for these four signs of larger problems. Doing so could save you from buying a home under false pretences, or having to foot a bills for thousands, possibly tens of thousands, in repairs.

1. Mold

Leaving a distinctive smell and a noticeable black hue on walls, floors, and ceilings, mold is not only expensive to remove, but dangerous for you and your family. Mold only grows in environments that are perfect for their growth, which is generally dark, cool, and humid spaces. Since Edmonton is generally dry, this in-home mold usually grows in basements with water problems. Once it gets into the home, it’s expensive to remove, but it only spreads when left alone. Those spores can create more mold problems, but they also cause major issues for your health, leading to lung issues and diseases that can be very harmful for young and old alike.

2. Cracks

A basement is part of your home’s foundation, the large and complex structure that supports your home, keeps it upright, and stops it from sagging over the years. Foundational damage comes in many forms and is extremely expensive to fix, but the signs can be fairly obvious in the basement. The biggest sign is cracks in the walls or ceiling of a basement. These are significant signs that the foundation is damaged and that the home is in need of five digit repair bills.

3. Signs of Water Damage

Water damage can be extremely expensive to fix properly, which is why many homes that have suffered it have evidence of quick fixes. Any of the following could be an indicator of previous water damage: patches of paint, sudden changes in flooring, oddly placed furniture (generally moved to cover up water damage), and cracks or peeling in the frames around doors and windows.

4. Efflorescence

While this has a long and complicated name, it’s actually fairly simple. “Efflorescence” refers to the distinct shimmer that’s left over after water evaporates. It’s mostly comprised of salt that’s picked up along its journey. In Edmonton, that’s usually from water that’s mixed with the salts on the road, considering we’re a far ways away from the ocean, but it does signal that water had recently evaporated on that spot, and water that probably came from outside the home. Look for the distinct shimmer of efflorescence on the outermost walls of the basement as an indicator that it’s susceptible to flooding.

When you’re looking at a home, be sure to pay close attention to small details in a basement. They can reveal a lot about a home, and potentially indicate that it’s time to look elsewhere.


Posted by Gurpreet Ghatehora on


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Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. Copyright 2023 by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. All rights reserved.

Listing information last updated on June 6th, 2023 at 7:46am CDT.