How do you know there is a problem when buying a house?
It's critical to discover and address any significant issues with the structure or safety of a home before signing on the dotted line. Oftentimes, however, seemingly small oddities hide much bigger problems lurking beneath the surface.
To help you protect yourself and your investment, here are 8 warning signs to look for when buying a home.
Have you seen any of these in your home search?
10 Warning Signs to Watch For When Buying A Home
Signs of termite infestations
Although termites may not be visible, there are warning signs that can indicate their presence. Homebuyers should be on the lookout for these termite warning signs when considering a home purchase:
Wood that is soft or spongy to the touch is one sign of termite damage.
If you tap on the wood and it sounds hollow, this is another sign that there may be termites present.
Mud tubes on the exterior of the home are another red flag. These mud tubes are created by termites as they travel back and forth from their nests to their food source.
If you see any of these signs, it's important to have a professional inspect the property before making an offer.
Random fresh paint
Many sellers will apply a fresh coat of paint inside and outside of their home to freshen it up and make it appealing to buyers. So fresh paint isn't automatically a red flag. But if random parts of the home are painted and others are not, it could be a sign that the paint is being used to cover up water damage or something else the homeowner doesn't want buyers to see. If you see random fresh paint, look a little deeper to be sure that it's just an esthetic decision by the seller and not a sign of a larger problem.
Strong air fresheners
Think of it this way. You burn popcorn in your microwave and you are expecting company ANY MINUTE. You don't want your guests to be turned off by the unpleasant smell, so you start opening windows and maybe lighting candles to diminish the odor and make the house smell better.
If burnt popcorn is the only issue a seller has before a showing, the air fresheners won't necessarily be an issue. But what if the sellers are trying to cover up something else? Mold. Mustiness. Old Cigarette Smoke.
Make sure that there aren't any underlying odors behind the fragrances that can be costly to clear up when you become the new owner of the home.
Several homes for sale in the neighborhood
When looking at homes to buy, pay attention to the neighborhood. You'll want to see how the neighbors care for their homes. Do you see a lot of people walking, children and pets playing? These can be signs of a safe and well-maintained neighborhood.
What are some red flags when buying a house?
But sometimes there are issues you can't see. Noise pollution, difficult neighbors, crime and so much more. One indicator that a neighborhood is on the decline can be clusters of houses for sale in one area. Ask yourself (or your realtor!) why so many are leaving at the same time.
Standing water in the yard
Having standing water in a yard can indicate drainage issues. These can be costly to fix, as oftentimes it requires regrading the yard or even installing drainage tiles around the home. Standing water can find its way into the basement of the foundation so it's important to recognize any water sitting on the property for any period of time.
An aging roof
No one likes to spend money on a roof, it's not a "fun" improvement to make on a home! But an aging roof can cause so many structural problems to the home if it's not addressed or replaced in a timely manner.
Look for lifting shingles, irregularities, missing shingles, or even just a worn-out appearance. Chances are if it looks old to you, it's getting very close to needing to be replaced. Factor in the expense of a new roof (as well as eaves and gutters which are often replaced together) if you decide to proceed with an offer on a home.
Been on the market too long
Once again, the length of time a house is on the market isn't an automatic warning sign. But a realtor who is familiar with the patterns of the market should be able to recognize if a home has been sitting for too long, and maybe help you decipher why this particular house isn't selling. If a market is hot and houses are selling within a few days, but the one you are looking at has been on the market for 6 weeks, it's a good idea to question why.
Is it priced too high?
Are there structural issues?
Is the neighborhood unappealing?
These are all good questions to ask if a house has been sitting on the market for an extended period of time.
Foundation in need of repair
Foundations can be one of the most expensive parts of a home to fix. With a damaged foundation, you could be looking at a ripple effect of damage to the structure of the home.
Cracks can be obvious, but also look at whether or not the house seems to be leaning or sinking. If you have any questions about the integrity of the foundation, it's important to know what you are up against. So get a professional opinion before you make any offers to purchase the home.
8 Warning Signs To Watch For When Purchasing A Home
Buying a home is a significant investment, so it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of potential pitfalls. As you look at homes to buy, be on the lookout for the above red flags.
If you find one, follow up with further questions and investigations. Other warning signs that may not be apparent in your viewings can be found during an inspection, so never pass on one when buying a home.
Finally, it is crucial to choose a skilled, experienced agent who can point out these and other warning signs when viewing a home.
Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you make. We want to provide you with the best, most relevant information to assist you in your journey.
Reach out to us with any questions and we will guide you through every step of the way and help you sell or buy a home that meets your needs while being competitive in today’s market. If you want trends for Placer County or El Dorado County or your specific zipcode or city, we'd be happy to send them to you. Just let us know!