How Buyers Can Spot Major Red Flags in Homes and Sellers

Common Home Buyer Red FlagsHome buying is more than just the colors on the wall and the water features in the backyard. There are a lot of potential dangers and flaws that can be located just under the surface. For an easier time spotting the red flags, keep the following tips in mind.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

Touring the Property

It may sound obvious, but Rochester home buyers really need to tour the entire property before they even put a home on their short list. This includes the attic or crawlspace and basement. When touring, buyers are highly encouraged to pay close attention to these major red flags:

  • Old appliances: Not only are old appliances likely to malfunction at any time, but they may also cause electrical problems down the line.
  • Flickering lights: If the lighting isn’t stable, it’s a sign that wires may be starting to break down inside the walls.
  • Gutters: Old gutters that are starting to detach is a major red flag. If the downspout is directing the water anywhere near the home, it could cause water damage.
  • Mold: There only needs to be a small amount of mold in a home to indicate plumbing issues. Mold in a bathroom or kitchen could also be a major safety hazard.

Water System Checks

The water system is usually the biggest potential red flag for a buyer. The water will likely flow perfectly during the open house, but it may be a completely different story when buyers move in. Because a water system is used so often, it may not be able to take the additional stress of the residents using it every morning, noon, and night. Look for any discoloration on the walls that may a problem with the pipes.

As-Is Homes

A seller who is selling their home as-is can be a red flag to buyers because it typically means that the seller isn’t confident about the safety of their home. This is not always the case, but it should remind the buyer to proceed with a little extra caution. In addition, if a seller is unable to answer questions or acts as though the answers don’t really matter, it could be a sign the seller has something to hide.

Home Inspectors

There are a number of ways a buyer can use a home inspector to help them see the red flags they may have missed. Not only are there general home inspectors, but there are also specialty inspectors available who know certain elements of the home inside and out (e.g., septic tank specialists, etc). Buyers should always be on site when the inspector looks at the home so they can ask questions about the house as needed.

Final Tips

Buyers who want to take even further precautions may want to visit the home under different circumstances before they buy. For example, seeing it on a snowy or a rainy day to see if the wood swells when it’s damp or if icy pathways pose a hazard. Buyers can also get a better idea of how the trees and shrubs stand up to the wind. This may be a more time-consuming step, but it’s recommended to buyers who want to protect themselves.

In real estate, knowledge really is power. Once a buyer knows the real condition of the home, they can either move onto another one or use its flaws as a way to leverage a better price.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

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