Winter vs. Summer Inspections, Is There Really A Difference?

When speaking to first time home buyers and sometimes even seasoned real estate investors, we often get the impression that our clients feel as though a winter home inspection can miss a lot of important aspects of the home and can leave them buying with certain vulnerabilities. Although some things can go unseen in the winter time – It is definitely not a bad time to perform an inspection. Something a lot of people forget is that cold weather, snow and slush brings out the worst in our wood structure Quebec homes. While summertime inspections make for more suitable temperatures, easier vision point of exterior landscaping/sidings, the summer weather also brings disadvantages.

Water infiltrations:

During the summer, we often feel as though the inspector can see more, but the truth is, he can sometimes see less due to the good weather conditions. Water infiltrations in the summer are much less common as it rains less, the heat dries up any wet patches quickly, and sometimes there just simply isn’t enough rainfall to face the issue of water infiltrations. During the winter months, from October until April, our temperature makes for frozen ground, but lots of rain, snow, slush, condensation and excess humidity. Which makes it easier for your home inspector to see any potential water infiltrations or wet spots that he may not have noticed in the summer months. This also gives access for the inspector to see how the drainage around your home is doing and if your french drain, sump pump and other aspects are functioning properly which can sometimes be harder to identify during summer dry spells.
Window Issues:
Just like we mentioned in point one, old or new, as long as a window is clean, it will look like it’s doing the job just fine in the hot summer months. When your inspector visits your property during colder months, signs such as condensation, frost and simply cold air are tell tale signs that your windows are due and need changing! Windows can be one of a homeowner’s biggest expenses, and sometimes when buying in the summer months, it is just not easy to see what shape your windows are in as it is easily overlooked by buyers. Make sure to always take the time to properly verify the age of a home’s windows, if you don’t know how, ask us! We can always help.
Attic/Ventilation Issues:
Typically in the winter, the inside of your home is kept much warmer than the outside temperature, sometimes by as much as 40 degrees! (-20 vs. +22) The part of your home that feels this the most is your attic! Typically not heated, when your inspector does his rounds in a summer time inspection he can definitely see past issues that the home may have had with water infiltrations or leaks, but due to it being a tight space with tough movement conditions, they often pass through quickly and sometimes go without being able to identify important factors. During a winter inspection, the building inspector will be able to see frost, active water leaks and ventilation issues by looking for signs of condensation, frost build up, moving insulation etc.
although these are just three aspects that we touched upon, it is important that buyers understand the general idea, every day is a good day for a home inspection, some things are easier to notice during summer months (land slopes, pool liners, foundation inspections) and other aspects are almost uniquely visible during colder, winter months.
Our suggestion, when buying a home, don’t wait for warmer weather, simply talk to your inspector and make sure he pays particular attention to the aspects that matter most to you! Given the weather conditions, they will be more than happy to go the extra mile for their clients!