Spot Red Flags in Home Buying

by Washington Federal Team on June 23, 2011

Do you how to spot “red flags” in home buying? Purchasing a home is an exciting process, especially when you find that perfect house, but make sure you won’t regret your purchase later because you overlooked potential land mines. Here are the top five:

1. Pests
A few ants in the garage is one thing, but mice, termites, and beetles can cause serious harm to your home’s wiring, insulation and hardwood floors. Make sure you identify any evidence of pests such as nests and markings.

2. Damp basement
A moist basement is a breeding ground for mildew and mold which can be especially harmful for those with allergies. Damp basements can also be a sign of flooding, which may indicate ineffective gutters, water spouts, high water table or a poor drainage system.  Signs of problems can include odors, rot, loose floor tiles, discolored walls and ceilings, or effervescence on concrete.

3. Faulty electrical wiring
If you notice hot outlets or a blown fuse on your house tour, these may be signs of an out-of-date electrical system. A faulty electrical system is costly to replace, and if left installed can become a dangerous fire hazard.

4. Bad smells
Some homes may need more than just a deodorizing spray to remove the presence of foul odors. Pet and cigarette smells can be expensive to remove, especially if doing so will require new carpeting or flooring.

5. Tour restrictions
Note any locked doors or skipped rooms when touring a home. This may be a sign that this area of the house has extensive problems that the sellers don’t want you to see.

Although you could identify many of these issues on your own, it is always a smart idea to hire a professional inspector to look over your potential new home. The $300 to $500 that you spend on a home inspection can save you from buying a home with hidden problems.  You can then adjust your offer or ask the seller to make repairs as a condition of the sale.  Even if everything checks out, a home inspection will teach you about the heating, plumbing and electrical systems in your new home and give you a head’s up regarding regular maintenance.  So remember, when you find a home that seems perfect, take a closer look. To learn more about different warning signs to look for in real estate, check out this informational video.

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