The home buying journey can be a long and drawn out process, especially if you’re looking for something specific. Once you find that perfect house that fits all the requirements, you may be eager to sign the papers right then and there. But be warned. Just because something looks perfect, doesn’t mean that it will stay that way. Your perfect home could turn into your worst nightmare if you don’t look carefully enough and check for things that may end up costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars in the future. Here are the top 5 things to look for before signing off on your dream house.

1. Roof Damage

You may not spend a lot of time on the roof, if at all, but it is one of the most important structures of your home. The condition of the roof will determine whether that chef’s kitchen you’ve been fawning over will be flooded during the next heavy rain or snowfall. Replacing a shingle roof can cost upwards of $8000, which is not an amount that you want to be shelling out as soon as you move in. Roofs are typically replaced every 20-25 years so be sure to ask the agent in charge of selling the property the current condition of the roof and when it was last serviced so you can be informed and plan ahead.

2. Foundation Damage

You’ve heard it applied to unstable relationships that if there’s cracks in the foundation, then the less likely it is to survive. The exact same philosophy can be applied to your home. The foundation of your home determines whether or not it remains standing or has the possibility of collapsing. Check the foundation of the home and look for uneven areas, cracks, or humps, as these indicate that the ground may have shifted and therefore pose a threat to the stability of your home.

3. Natural Disaster Risks

You may be dreaming of that beautiful waterfront home and sipping your favourite drink while looking out onto the water from the comforts of your porch, but while that sounds wonderful during peaceful times, you’ll want to weight the risk factors of what will happen to your home in the event of a natural disaster. Those close to water have a high risk of flooding, especially if there are no barriers in place to prevent such a thing. For those in places where earthquakes can be common, having a home on a rock face or close to one may have devastating consequences. Research your area and carefully consider every possibility before settling down in a potentially dangerous area.

4. Mold and Water Damage

Not only does water damage and mold look unattractive, but the latter can also lead to health problems down the road. Especially on the roof, too much build up can result in an eventual cave in, costing thousands of dollars in repairs. If small, it’s best to have that taken care of as soon as possible, but avoid houses with excessive mold and water damage as it’s just not worth the time and investment.

5. Insulation

This mainly applies to older houses as they weren’t build with insulation as their top priority. Ask the seller’s agent what year the home was built in and if it has gone through any insulation upgrades. A well insulated house will determine the amount of money that you’ll have to dish out to keep your house’s temperature regulated during the hot summer months and bitterly cold winters.