Purchasing a home is one of the most significant investments you’ll make in life. You’re often putting down a large portion of your savings, so you want to know that you are making a good choice before you reach a final decision. While it’s impossible to learn every tiny detail about a home before you buy it, there are some red flags to keep an eye out for. By knowing these red flags you can help to ensure you don’t regret your purchase somewhere down the line.
- Bad Smells – One of the first things you’ll likely notice is if there is a bad smell when you walk in. If there is a bad odor in any of the rooms – or throughout the entire house – you’ll want to discover the source. While it could come from the owners forgetting to remove the trash, it could also be from mold or something else, so it’s important to inspect.
- Water Stains – Next, you’ll want to look out for water stains. These typically appear within the walls or the ceiling, and will cause discoloration. Water stains are a sign that water is leaking into the home, and if not taken care of, will likely lead to a larger problem.
- Uneven Floors – One of the biggest red flags you want to look out for is problems with the home’s foundation. Foundation problems are sometimes costly to fix, so you want to know about them before you decide to buy the home. Uneven floors are a classic sign of a problem with the foundation, so if you see them, be sure to have them inspected more thoroughly by a professional home inspector.
- Cracks In The Walls – Another sign of a bad foundation is when there are cracks in the walls. These will typically come inside the basement or crawl space, but they can can appear in other rooms as well. The owner may have tried to cover cracks up, so be sure to look carefully. Cracks are sometimes easy fixes, but other times they signs of a much larger problem with your home.
- Poor Drainage In The Yard – If the yard of your home slopes, you could find yourself with some poor drainage issues. Water runs downhill, and puddles form at the bottom if there is no drainage. Take a look at the yard, see if it slants one way, and if puddles will form in inconvenient spots. The best time to know for sure is to go by the house after it rains, as this will tell you for sure if there is a drainage problem.
- Old Appliances – When you buy a home, you are buying major appliances along with it. Things like the furnace and hot water heater typically come with the home, and you want to make sure they are in good order. If a furnace is old – or if the owner is not running it during a cold day – this is a red flag. You don’t want to spend a lot of money replacing the furnace or other major appliance right after you move in, so be sure to check them out.
- Old Wiring And Outlets – While you’re likely not an electrician, you should still be on the lookout for old wiring and outlets. These are a fire hazard, and could lead to costly repairs if they break down. At the very least, ensure all of the outlets and light switches work with no issues.
- Exodus From The Area – Are there are a lot of homes for sale in the area? Are businesses being boarded up? If the area is on the decline, and a lot of people are leaving, it is probably not be the best time to move in. Drive around the neighborhood before you sign the papers, and make sure you don’t see too many “For Sale” signs.
- Bugs – No one likes bugs crawling around in their homes, so if you spot any during your inspections, it’s a good idea to determine the severity. Bugs can cause other issues – like termites eating at the wood – or be a sign of other underlying problems.
- Off-limits Areas – Finally, if the owner of the home-made any areas off-limits, this is a red flag. There is likely something within the room they don’t want you to see, something that would cause you to not by the home. If you can’t see the entire home when shopping, move onto another location.
While your agent will help you look out for many of the red flags above, it doesn’t hurt to be aware of common items that can lead to costly expenses down the road. That way you are more confident about the purchase, and less likely to regret it in the future. To find out more about red flags during home shopping, please feel free to contact us at any time.