Buying a home is a thrilling experience, especially when you find a property that you truly like. And in all the excitement, it’s easy to overlook flaws and problems that could turn out to be very costly down the road.
This is why it’s always best to have a home inspected by a professional before finalizing the sale. It also pays to know what you’re looking for during home showings and open houses. If you do decide to proceed with the purchase of a home, you can alert your home inspector about whatever potential issues you found.
Here are some property red flags to watch out for:
- Large cracks on the walls, particularly in the basement
- Doors that are difficult to operate and have crooked frames
- A yard that slopes toward the house
- Peeling or worn out paint
- Damaged gutters or gutters with accumulated dried leaves and dirt
- Two or more roofing layers
- Broken fixtures
Foundation or structural problems
This is a major concern that often results in expensive repairs later on. Some of the signs that could indicate a foundation or structural problem include:
If you notice too many problem areas, even minor ones, this could indicate that the home has not seen good maintenance over the years and will require plenty of repairs. Signs of chronic poor maintenance include:
Foul odor or overpowering scent
A bad smell is always a cause for concern. It can indicate mold or some other major problem. On the other hand, if the house is filled with too much fragrance – from scented potpourri, burning oils or plug-in air fresheners, for example – this could mean the seller is trying to mask a foul odor.
Fresh paint on random places
If only one wall is painted, or just certain parts of the ceiling or the walls, then that could indicate the owner is hiding mildew, mold or water damage. If the seller has not tried to hide dark spots and other signs of water damage, you should look into the cause and find out if the problem has been corrected.
While checking electrical systems should be done by a professional, you can spot a few red flags on your own by turning on light switches and checking all lights and outlets. If you’re interested in an older home, check if it already has updated electrical systems; an outdated one can cause major problems.
Poor neighborhood condition
The home you’re looking into might be nice and well-maintained but keep in mind that when you buy property, you’re also buying the neighborhood. Check if there are a significant number of vacant homes –people may be moving out for a reason. Look into home values. Have they been going up or down? Always think about resale.
If there’s a downtrend in home values, this could continue for a long time and you might not get a good price when it comes time to sell. Other neighborhood details to look into include the crime rate and any new development or construction in the area that could affect property values.
If you’re in the market for a home in Boulder County, I’ll be happy to help. Call me at 303-443-6161 or 303-359-6627 or email me at MHughes@LIVSIR.com.