Common red flags for homebuyers

Common red flags for homebuyers

Sellers don’t always disclose the whole truth to potential homebuyers, especially if they’re eager to sell. But you can’t afford to get a professional inspection of every house you tour. So before you spring for the professionals, narrow down your choices by doing your own pre-inspection to spot potential problems. Here is a list of some of the most common red flags for homebuyers.

Common red flags for homebuyers

If any of the top red flags are discovered they must be addressed before signing on the dotted line.  So, what are the top red flags to look for when buying a home?

Potential structural problems

One of the most costly repairs to a home is correcting foundation problems.  The foundation of a home is arguably the most important part of a home.  A home with a problematic foundation can cost a homeowner a lot of money to correct a problem. Minor cracking may only be a sign of settling in the home, however, large cracks can be a sign of structural problems with the foundation.

Pest or insect problems

Depending on the area of the home, there are certain pests and insects that buyers need to be on the lookout for.  A severe pest problem should raise a red flag.  Many pests, especially wood-destroying pests, can cause damage to a home that can cost thousands of dollars to rectify.  The most common pests that should raise red flags include termites, powder post beetles, and carpenter ants.

Amateur workmanship & repairs

Amateur workmanship is one red flag that buyers need to be on the lookout for when viewing properties. Some of the most common amateur workmanship jobs to keep an eye out for when looking at homes include plumbing, carpentry, and electrical work.  When looking at homes it is a good idea to keep an eye out for leaky faucets, toilets, missing trim work, and other potential DIY projects.

Stains on ceilings or walls

The biggest cause of rot and mould is moisture. Does your potential new home have leaking pipes or a roof that lets in water? It won’t just be expensive to replace your roof or find where the leak is coming from, the leak could have already created other problems. Water stains and mould are home inspection red flags. Not only can mould have implications for your health, but it could also indicate a bigger problem with the house.

Faulty or old wiring

While you’re probably not an electrician, make sure all the switches and outlets in the house function properly. Flickering lights, circuits that don’t work and warm or hot outlets or faceplates are all symptoms of wiring problems.

Locked doors and blockades

Ask about any rooms that are “off-limits” during your home tour, and arrange to see them later if you’re interested in the house. Be sure to tour the entire house.

Poor drainage

Poor grading and drainage can potentially cause huge problems with the foundation. As such, it should be high on your list of home inspection red flags. When it comes to bad drainage, things to look for when buying a home can include pooling water around the foundation, leaking in the basement, gutters that are blocked or overflowing, and soil being moved by water around the home.

The state of the neighbourhood

You might have found a beautiful home, but what if the location isn’t ideal? If your home is in a neighbourhood that seems to be deteriorating – with a high number of vacant properties, a high crime rate, and a bad school system – your investment might not pay off.

Final thoughts

Buying a home is a huge event in anyone’s life, whether it’s a first time home buyer or an experienced home buyer.  It’s critical that when buying a home, buyers are on the lookout for these red flags.  While many of these red flags may not be found while viewing a home, many of these red flags are likely to be found during a home inspection. This is another important reason to have a home inspection when buying a home.

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