A house is likely the biggest investment you will ever make! It is important when shopping for a home to be mindful of what a realtor or previous homeowner might not be telling you during the sale process. A smart homebuyer will know ahead of time which red flags to look for in order to avoid frustration during the process—including those that might not be so obvious. Here are the red flags that you should be looking for when shopping for a home.
Nearby For-Sale Signs
Pay attention to the surrounding neighborhood. Does it seem as though a disproportionately high number of nearby homeowners is also seeking to move out of the neighborhood? This could say something unfavorable about the home’s surrounding community. It is always a good idea to check with neighbors to see how they feel about the home’s location.
Strategically Placed Fresh Paint
Many homeowners will give the rooms in their homes a fresh paint job before selling to make their homes more move-in friendly, but sometimes paint can also be used to cover up deeply-rooted issues in the home. For example, a fresh coat of paint on one wall in a basement might be concealing water damage, or fresh paint on the ceiling in only one bedroom might be covering up mold there. Try to seek out what smells might be underlying the smell of fresh paint to find out if mold or mildew could be a problem in your potential new home.
A fresh home renovation can be extremely attractive in a new home, but with renovations involving moved walls and other major structural elements, it’s important to make sure the home you’re considering buying is still structurally sound. Consider hiring a structural engineer to check out the space if you’re wary of a home’s recent renovations.
Non-Professional Home Repairs
On a similar note, a home that has been lived in for quite some time is more likely to have had its repairs done by the homeowner. These repairs might have saved those homeowners money, but for you a subpar repair job could mean more costly repairs in the future. Keep an eye out for amateur repairs as you tour a home.
Dated (and Unsafe) Characteristics
Older homes can be especially vulnerable to having characteristics that are no longer considered safe for a living space. Some examples of these characteristics include lead paint, higher carbon monoxide levels, and asbestos.
If you’re in the market for a new home, it’s an excellent idea to invest in a comprehensive home inspection prior to completing the deal. While you might be able to catch obvious red flags in a home like needed repairs and structural damage, a thorough inspection will help you catch any potential deal breakers before settling on a home to buy.