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Hidden hazards of buying a home in Winter

Blog by Kim Twohey | February 24th, 2016


Normally, there is snow during a Calgary winter (not this year, apparently!).  When you are buying a home that is covered in snow, there is a risk that you will not be able to identify potential deficiencies.  Here is a list of issues that could be covered up by snow and what you can do about it.


Water can penetrate your home from multiple points of entry including windows, the roof, or cracks in the foundation.  In the winter when temperatures are consistently below 0ºC, everything is frozen and water is less likely to be visible.  While homeowners are required to disclose any issues related to water entering the home, some may not realize it has been happening or it could be a relatively new issue.  When touring a home, keep an eye out for evidence of water damage.  Potential indicators of water damage include:

  • Water stains on ceilings or walls;
  • Warping or stains on floors;
  • Corroded pipes; and
  • Dampness, water stains, or odor in the basement. 

Damaged roof

Winds around Calgary can get pretty fierce and cause damage to roofs.  If the roof is covered in snow, damage will be difficult to spot.  You can check the status of the roof from inside the home.  Ask your Realtor if you can peek in the attic to look for

  • Evidence of water damage,
  •  Sagging, or 
  • Outside light shining into the attic.


A good snow cover can hide landscaping issues such as improper grading or damaged hardscaping.  Your Realtor can ask for pictures of the yard during the summer months.  You can also check Google Maps satellite view and earth view to get an idea of how the lot is landscaped.

When buying a home in the winter, it is imperative to get a thorough home inspection.  A good Calgary home inspector knows exactly what types of deficiencies can be hidden by the snow that could become an issue during the warmer months.  A home inspector has the knowledge and tools to conduct the best inspection possible in almost every weather condition. 

Did you buy a Calgary home in the winter only to be surprised by something that was revealed once the snow melted?  Tell me about it on Twitter.