Wednesday, March 16, 2022 / by Cindy Bunch
House hunting can feel like a full-time job. You’ve done all the hard work scouring the internet to find the perfect house that fits your needs and wishlist, so you’ve set up an appointment for a showing with your agent. How exciting!
With the current market, it’s easy to get swept up in that fear-of-missing-out feeling, but before falling in love with a home, there are some critical red flags to look out for in your walkthrough:
Visible cracks in the foundation or exterior walls: This could be nothing or it could mean serious problems with the structural integrity of the home.
Damp or musty smell?: Trust your nose! Where there’s a musty smell, there could be an ongoing issue with a leak or other water intrusion. Stagnant water inside the home can cause mold or attract pests.
Water stains on ceilings?: Or there could be an obviously recent patch job on the ceiling. This is an indicator of a previous or possibly ongoing leak. Depending on what is above that ceiling, it would be a leaky pipe or an issue with the roof.
Evidence of active insect colonies?: This one is a no-brainer. Unfortunately, where I am here in the south, pests are part of life, but they don’t have to be a part of your home and can be easily prevented. However, long-term untreated pest problems can wreak havoc on the structure of your home and cause expensive repairs.
Strong air fresheners or fresh paint (Hmm…)?: This one should make you pause and question a bit further what the sellers may be trying to cover up. Pet or smoke odors may require a professional deep clean or replacing odor-absorbing finishes like carpet.
Standing water in the yard: This could indicate drainage issues that could lead to further problems and may require additional investigating to determine the cause.
Current owners haven’t lived there long?: Your agent can point this out to you based on the public tax records. Was the house a flip? If so, you’ll want to take a closer look at any updates made to check for the quality of work or if a problem was conveniently covered up.
Each of these red flags by itself may not present a huge issue, but string a couple of them together, and you’ve got a good reason to press pause. ?Zillow’s online pictures can easily hide these things!
Even if the home is listed “As-Is” hire an inspector for your peace of mind. They can uncover if any of these red flags are reasons for concern and then you can either…
- Negotiate repairs with the seller (admittedly tough to do in our current market)
- Prepare your to-do list and budget for repairs after closing
- Or choose to walk away entirely (you’re allowed to do that during due diligence!)
An experienced agent who knows what to look for is money when you’re house hunting. If you’re reading this, chances are you are already a pretty savvy homebuyer, (good for you for doing your research!), and if you’re looking for an agent to be your advocate in this process, sign up or log in at the top of this page to connect with us and get your home search rolling or jump right in here.