Purchasing a home is one of the biggest financial transactions you’ll make in your lifetime. It’s important that serious buyers do their due diligence before making any commitments on a home. If you’re buying, there are several warning signs you should be on the lookout for. Here are some of the most common red flags you’ll encounter when buying home.
A decline in the neighborhood
Unless you’re buying far out in the country with no neighbors nearby, you should take a good look at the neighborhood in which the house is situated. Even if the home you like is in great condition, what about the rest of the street? Are there many vacant homes? Do you see empty storefronts? Is there any evidence of vandalism? You’re not just buying a home; you’re becoming part of a community. If the neighborhood is in obvious decline, this is a big red flag.
Amateur repairs or additions
In our DIY culture, it’s not unusual for homeowners to tackle home maintenance and repairs on their own. But if something in the house looks like it was obviously done by an amateur that could be a cause for a concern. Find out if the proper permits were obtained before the work was done, and if everything was done according to code. If not, it could cause you significant money down the road.
Water can cause substantial damage to a home. Be on the lookout for rotting wood in the bathroom and kitchen. Check the basement for signs of moisture or water stains. Examine the exterior including window trim, eaves and decks for signs of damage. Also be aware of any standing water in the yard or near the foundation, which could cause structural damage to the home.
If you’re considering an older home, be sure to thoroughly check it for possible environmental hazards. This could include lead paint, radon, toxic mold and asbestos. Older homes are more likely to contain these types of hazards because they were built before technology and building codes changed. Although many of these toxins can be removed, they require the services of a professional, which can be expensive.
When you’re touring, take note of any signs of infestations. Look for droppings, dead insects or signs of nesting. These could mean termites, mice, roaches, bed bugs or even raccoons living in the attic. Sometimes the infestations are not always obvious, and you’ll want to include an inspection by a professional before moving in.
Is the house equipped to handle the demands of today’s technological environment? Old or faulty wiring in a house can be a safety hazard. In some cases, outdated electrical systems can cause a fire. Keep an eye out for ungrounded outlets, flickering lights, warm faceplates, lights that don’t work and aluminum wiring. These indicate that the home has inferior electrical work, which can be very expensive to replace.
As you begin to view homes, keep a eye out for any of the issues mentioned above and have them thoroughly inspected by a professional before closing on the house. If you don’t, it could end up costing you much more in the long run.
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