Real Estate Red Flags for Homebuyers
Whether you’re a buyer scouting a property through an open house or private viewings, chances are you might miss a few crucial details. Sellers will always showcase the best features of their property and although a seller must disclose all known defects of a property, it is still possible for a seller to be either unaware of a defect or may even intentionally conceal certain issues from prospective buyers. The best remedy to this concern is to know the red flags so that you can check them yourself.
We’ve created a list of real estate red flags homebuyers must be aware of when viewing houses:
Check the Neighborhood
Before even entering the premises of a property, observe it’s neighborhood. A neighborhood can say a lot about a property. For example, regardless of the property you’re going to look at has a nice curb appeal, it is still a good idea to check if the neighboring homes look at par. Another good tell is if there are several properties in the neighborhood that are on sale. Although it may only be coincidental, there may also be a valid underlying reason as to why several houses in the neighborhood are currently up for sale. If you have the time, it is all a good idea to ask actual neighbors and get a piece of inside information on the property.
The smell can be a great tell as well when scouting houses. An overwhelmingly great-smelling house can be as equally alarming as a foul-smelling home. If you are immediately engulfed by the strong smell of air fresheners or diffusers when entering a home, chances are, the seller is trying to mask an unpleasant smell. There are a number of possible reasons for foul odors at home, the most troubling is that of molds as certain types of molds may cause respiratory problems or headaches when inhaled. When in situations like this, a good idea is to ask the seller if you can revisit the property another time and ask them not to use air fresheners or diffusers the next time.
Cracks in Foundation
Concrete foundations are bound to have cracks over time. A hairline crack should not be a cause of concern for buyers but if there are cracks that are at least a third of an inch wide, it is probably a good idea to have these checked as these may indicate structural issues.
Most sellers would try to repaint their homes before selling in the hopes of increasing the value of their property, but this is not the case at all times. Just like with air fresheners, fresh paint can also be used to mask underlying issues such as water damage or even molds. A good tell is when a freshly painted wall seems a bit out of place; if only a single wall seems to have been repainted when the rest of the walls are not.
Off Limits Areas
As mentioned above, sellers will try their best to showcase the best features of their homes and that is why buyers should always keep their eyes open and spot areas that sellers might try to hide from them. When visiting a home, make it a point to check all rooms, including those with locked doors. Although the seller might simply lock doors to conceal clutter, it is still best to check.
The final red flag every buyer must look out for is bugs and insects. No buyer ever dreams of moving into a home with insect infestations. A great way to tell if there are any insect infestations is hollow woods. Try knocking on the doors or walls, if there are termites in the home, the knock will sound hollow. Be on the lookout as well for small brown droppings on the floor. If you are interested in a property, it’s best to conduct a separate termite inspection before purchasing the property.