4 Common Red Flags for Home Buyers

Posted by Justin Havre on Thursday, March 19th, 2020 at 9:22am.

What to Look for When Buying a HomeHomebuyers have a difficult job ahead of them when it comes to evaluating a Gleneagles home. If they're too critical, they might never find a property that checks off all their boxes. However, there are certain red flags that buyers not only need to be able to spot, but also to follow up on before they make an offer on the home. Here are four culprits that should be on everyone's list as they search.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

Water Damage

Because this system is used constantly, water needs to be in tip-top shape. Any degree of discoloration in the kitchen or bathroom needs to be taken seriously. Sellers may try to cover up water damage with paint or air fresheners, but poor plumbing will usually start with one of the following problems:

  • Old appliances (e.g., water heater, dishwasher, etc.)
  • Malfunctioning gutters
  • Damaged or worn pipes
  • Cracked foundation
  • Holes or cracks in the windows, walls, or doors

Mold or mildew in any area of the house can signify future problems with misplaced water. Buyers should ask to see the costs of the water bill of the home in addition to scrutinizing the property, as an abnormally high bill can indicate the presence of a leak.

Swelling Wood

Homes made from lumber are generally crowd-pleasers for home buyers, owing largely to their storybook qualities. But wood is also one of the more difficult materials to maintain, especially if it's exposed to even minor precipitation. If wood is swollen anywhere in the home, it's a sign that it needs to be either refinished or replaced. Wood is also more susceptible to fire and may attract more insects.

Signs of Pests

Insects or pests can infest a home for quite some time before they cause serious damage that can't be ignored. (Even termites can live in a foundation for months before they start causing real structural damage.) Check for ant hills around the home, woodpiles near the home, and damaged patches on the lawn. If the home has rats or mice, there may be small holes in the floor or walls that the sellers haven't yet patched up.

Encroaching Vegetation

Nature has a way of trying to reclaim the property if and whenever it can. Tree roots may start to grow toward the pipes of the home, tall trees may threaten to crush the roof, and rapidly climbing ivy can eventually begin to dislodge the mortar of the home. This is likely one of the more difficult signs to spot though, because unless buyers can see the tree roots pushing the foundation up or the dying tree headed toward the window, vegetation can look normal at first glance.

Correcting the Red Flags

While these problems can be serious, none of them have to be deal-breakers for buyers. An inspector can go a long way to clarifying the extent of the issues, so the buyer can work out an arrangement with the seller. If it's going to take serious time and money to fix the problem, the seller may be willing to split the difference or even cover the costs entirely.

The art of buying a home is tied up in both observational and preparatory skills. The more knowledge a homebuyer has, the more likely it is that they'll avoid a mistake. Sellers try to showcase their home in the best light, and these tips can help buyers see below the surface.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

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