7 Red Flags for Home Buyers

Caught up in the excitement of searching for a new home, buyers may sometimes overlook signs of serious problems with a property. Even the most beautiful home may be riddled with flaws that could prove expensive or unsafe for future buyers.

Although costly, home inspections are critical for revealing potential issues with a property and may save buyers a significant amount of money and frustration down the road.

If you are a buyer, look for some of the following warning signs before you reach the home inspection phase of your search:

  1. Questionable renovations. Many homeowners attempt to boost the value of their properties, especially in anticipation of a sale, by adding on
    rooms or removing walls in order to create a more open floor plan. However, if the renovation was performed hastily or by someone without the proper expertise, structural issues could result. If renovations were performed in compliance with local law, the permits should be available in the public records.
  2. Strong fragrances. If overwhelming aromas of potpourri or air fresheners linger in a home, they may be concealing unsanitary conditions, such as mold growth. As a seller, ensure that your home is thoroughly cleaned and opt for more subtle fragrances to avoid alarming or irritating buyers
  3. Water stains or suspicious paint jobs. Water stains on the walls or ceilings may indicate leaks or mildew, while paint that is fresh only in certain spots may signal that the homeowner is attempting to mask these problems.
  4. Poorly maintained gutters. Gutters are designed to direct water away from the home, but if they are clogged with debris, leaks will result.  These leaks may cause a multitude of problems, including mold growth and expensive damage to the home s foundation and exterior walls.
  5. Roof problems. Roof repairs or replacements may be very expensive, so buyers should look for signs such as loose material and worn, damaged, or missing shingles.
  6. Aging appliances or HVAC systems. If a home’s major appliances show signs of age, they may soon require costly repairs or replacements.  Older appliances also tend to be less efficient, signaling that the home may carry higher utility bills.
  7. Damage to the foundation. If the walls of a home appear curved or uneven or there are noticeable cracks or bulges in the foundation, the home may be suffering from serious structural issues.

Deciding whether to purchase a home is a process of weighing the pros and cons of various properties. While none of the above warning signs should necessarily be viewed as deal-breakers, they clearly indicate the need for further investigation.

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