Buying a property in Saskatoon - good idea?


New Forum Member
Hi Saskatoon friends!

I recently moved to Saskatchewan from overseas and have a bit of experience in property investing.

I’ve conditionally purchased a detached century home in Saskatoon’s North Park area, which to my understanding is a prime location. It’s close to bus stops, the river, downtown and hospital so I thought it was a great find and wow, prices here for quality homes are a lot lower than back home (or Vancouver/Toronto)!

My idea is to rent it out initially and before moving in.

I was wondering if I could lean on the experience of people in the forum on the following:
  • The seller flagged the basement walls are bowing though my realtor and I could hardly tell. Is it better to get further information on this from the home inspector, a concreter, or a structural engineer? Any suggestions are welcome.
  • What are some red flags I should look out for during the inspection report when it comes to buying a house in Saskatoon?
  • How do I make sure my financing gets approved given I’m a new immigrant with limited credit history? My real estate agent suggested putting a 30% down payment to have a higher chance, but I wanted to stick with 20% as it’s very costly to move money across from Australia.
  • From a return-on-investment perspective, what type of capital appreciation and yield should I expect? The purchase price is around $350k and the seller told me it previously rented for $2,400 but didn’t provide evidence (seems a little high).
I wouldn’t even know where to start with finding comparable rent data, insurance pricing and understanding all my incomings/outgoings so any advice would be appreciated.

Tina Myrvang

Client Care Lead
Staff member
REIN Member
100 Year Old House – What to look for:

Toronto is an old city so of course, it has a lot of really old houses. In fact, it isn’t uncommon to find houses here that are over 100 years old. When you’re thinking about buying a house that old, there’s a lot of things that made sense or were the norm at that time that you might want to look out for now. Here are 7 of them:

· Knob-and-Tube Wiring. What is it exactly? Knob-and tube-wiring gets its name from the insulator knobs used to keep the wires from making contact with anything and the ceramic tubes that run the wires through wooden floor joists or studs. Is it dangerous? Not necessarily. It’s just an old way of doing things. But, some insurance companies will refuse to insure a home that has it, which means it might need to be updated, and updating knob-and-tube to a more modern system can costs 10s of thousands to complete.

· Oil Heating Systems - old house oil tank - Homes that are heated by oil will have a huge, unsightly oil tank somewhere in the home; most likely the basement. While they’re not dangerous, they’re basically considered obsolete, and they can be expensive to run and to maintain; and if you want to remove it and upgrade the whole system, that will cost you too.

· Lead Paint - It sounds crazy to think that people would paint their walls with paint that contained lead, but they did. Paint made before 1980 had some lead in it, but paint made before 1950 had a lot of lead in it. If that paint When that paint chips or is sanded down, it releases lead particles into the air, and you’ll breathe it in.

· Asbestos - While it was widely accepted in the 20s and 30s as the insulation of choice, we now know that asbestos can cause Mesothelioma, or even lung cancer. You’ll 100% need to get rid of it, which can be a costly job depending on its location in the house and how much there is.

· Mold - Mold is a pretty common problem that isn’t limited to old houses, but little foundation cracks and imperfections in the foundation and an old humid basement are a recipe for mold. It’s not impossible to get rid of, but it can take a lot of time and a lot of money to do it correctly.

· Galvanized Steel Plumbing (use the search option on this site for Plumbing….Galvanized Steel & Leaded Pipes for more details). Galvanized steel pipes have an average life expectancy of 40 – 50 years. Over time, galvanized steel pipes begin to rust or corrode from the inside out, resulting in reduced water pressure and restricted water flow. This presents risks of leaks or ruptures in the pipes and potential for flood damage. Your insurance company most likely will require you to replace the galvanized steel piping with copper or plastic piping before providing you with insurance coverage.

· Wood Burning Stove or Wood Burning Fireplaces. Nothing beats a crackling wood burning fire, whether in a wood burning stove or fireplace….but insurance companies know that if a stove/fireplace is not properly installed and used properly, it can become a serious fire hazard. For this reason, your insurance company will require that your stove/fireplace be inspected by a certified Wood Energy Technical Training (WETT) Technician. Many home inspectors now offer this certification with their home inspection. Be sure that your Real Estate Agent includes the clause that your purchase is “Conditional upon WETT Certification”. Should your inspection be unsatisfactory, you do have the option of converting your wood burning fireplace to gas, or closing/eliminating it completely.
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