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Red Flags for Home Buyers

Sellers don’t always tell the whole truth to potential home buyers, especially if they’re eager to sell. But you can not afford to get a professional inspection of every house you tour. So before you spring for the pro, narrow down your choices by doing your own pre-inspection to spot potential problems.

Mediocre Maintenance

Three layers of roofing and gutters with plants growing in them are signs the owners aren’t big on maintaining their home. What else did they neglect?

Red_flagFoundation Failures

Check out the yard grading. If the yard slopes towards the house, it could cause water to run down the foundation walls or into the basement, which will be costly to repair. Scour the foundation for damage. Bulges or cracks bigger than 1/3 inch can mean the house has serious structural issues.

Bad Smells

Take a big whiff of the air inside and outside the house. Do you smell anything funky? If you can’t smell anything but the huge baskets of potpourri all over the house, this could be a red flag.

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 face plates are all symptoms of wiring problems

Fresh Paint… on One Wall

New paint can really spruce up drab walls, but it can also hide bigger problems, like water damage, mildew or mold. If the room smells strange or if you see stains or saggy walls or ceilings, have an inspector look for mold and leaks.

Foggy or Non-Functioning Windows

Check for water in between double-pane windows and make sure all the windows are functional.

Structural Walls

Sure you love the open floor plan, but was the house always open or did the homeowners renovate? If they removed a load-bearing wall without adjusting the framing, it can shift weight to other parts of the house. Hire a structural engineer if you think any renovations are questionable.

Bugs!

No one wants a house with a pest problem — be it roaches, mice or worst of all, termites. Be on the lookout for unwelcome creatures as you tour the house. Even if no foes pop out while you’re there, consider a separate termite inspection if you’re thinking of purchasing the property

BOTTOM LINE: Always get a professional inspection. Yeah, it’s a little expensive, but it’s worth every penny. Skipping a home inspection is not a good way to cut home buying costs. You’ll end up paying more in the long run when problems inevitably arise.