Homeowners Beware: Five Household Hazards

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Buying a home can be overwhelming, especially if you’re doing it on your own or for the first time. Working with a REALTOR® allows you to take advantage of their expert knowledge and experience, specifically when it comes to potential red flags. Many homes can appear great on the surface, but you’ll want to check for any issues that could affect your health, wallet, or quality of life. Before you jump in headfirst, here’s a list of common household hazards to be aware of before you make an offer.

Water Damage

Water damage is a significant issue that you don’t want to have to handle. During the open house, keep an eye out for any surfaces that look like they’ve recently received a fresh coat of paint. More often than not, sellers will try to cover water damage by painting over it. Finding these issues early on can save you from unplanned and expensive renovations.

Tip: Warped sheetrock below window sills usually indicates a leak.


Water damage can result in mold, an allergen that affects everyone. Black or toxic mold is much more severe, and repeated exposure can affect your health. If you smell earthy and musty odours in a home, that’s usually a telltale sign that mold is growing somewhere. Like water damage, mold can also hide beneath a fresh coat of paint. Beware: paint doesn’t fix anything, and mold will continue to spread.

Tip: Check the base of toilets, bathtubs and sinks to rule out any signs of mold.

Exposed Asbestos

Asbestos was commonly used as a building material until the mid-20th century when it was discovered to cause mesothelioma cancer. Thankfully, asbestos isn’t used as a building material anymore; however, there’s still a chance that traces remain in older buildings. If your older home contains traces of asbestos, you’re safe as long as it remains undisturbed.

Tip: If you own an older home, consult a professional before any renovation projects to ensure that it’s safe and free of asbestos.

Fire Safety

It may seem obvious, but making sure that there’s a functioning fire alarm system isn’t always top of mind. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, most household fires start in the laundry room. If your home comes with appliances like a washer and dryer, make sure that they have the right electrical rating before plugging them in.

Tip: Before starting the dryer, check and clean the lint collector to avoid starting an electrical fire.

Ownership History

Before making an offer, ask to see the home’s ownership history or check for it online. If a home has a high turnover rate, there may be something wrong with it that you can’t immediately see. Like a resume, an ownership history can often answer the majority of your questions.

Tip: Ask for this so that you don’t run into an unexpected issue after moving in. It’s always better safe than sorry!

Seek Guidance

The Stilhavn team can help expedite the home-buying process and make sure that a home is up to industry standards. Our expert team members deal with the details so that you can enjoy the excitement of the process. Browse our current listings and start planning your future havn!