There are always a few warning signs to be on the lookout for when touring an open house. When it comes to what to look for when viewing a house for sale, rely on your powers of observation and your gut feelings. If you see something off, ask about it. Rebuttals are usually not a good sign. Likewise, if something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Take a look at this checklist when buying a home.
“Real estate cannot be lost or stolen, nor can it be carried away. Purchased with common sense, paid for in full, and managed with reasonable care, it is about the safest investment in the world.” - Franklin D. Roosevelt
1. Pay Attention to the Surroundings
So you’ve found a home in your affordable price range in a neighborhood you like? Great! Upon closer inspection, there are other homes nearby also for sale with competitive rates. That seems a bit off.
Should you notice too many homes for sale in a single area, that could mean the residents aren’t happy with something going on locally.Certainly talk to your would-be neighbors to get a better understanding of what’s happening in town.
Keep in mind:
Another reason there could be a number of vacant homes is simply because of the neighborhood. If you notice unkempt lawns, trash, or lots of people coming in/going out on the property, that could be an equally alarming red flag. So keep in mind that the way a street looks is also indicative of who lives there.
2. Foundation Issues
Are you wondering, what to look for when inspecting a house? Most homes actually come with hairline cracks. These types of damage simply indicate that the house has settled in its foundation. This is a purely cosmetic issue that can be easily remedied.
The real problem is cracks that are much larger, wood that seems shifted out of place, or doors/windows that don’t hang level. This can indicate a much larger problem with the home.
If at any point you see or suspect major damage to a foundation, consider hiring a home inspection. The contractor will be able to walk you through the property, checking on any concerns you might have. This is certainly a worthwhile endeavor no matter what.
3. Odd Odors
Any funky scents or smells tend to be another red flag. Conversely, overly powerful potpourri, disinfectants, or candles could be an indication of an odor cover up.
If you notice anything amiss, be sure to talk to the realtor. Either way, be sure to talk to the neighborhood as well. Some other minor details to keep in mind include this “what to look for when buying a house” checklist:
- Foggy windows
- Popcorn ceilings
- Disjointed additions
- Unfinished construction
- Peeling Paint
- Ols wiring
- Signs of infestation
- Water damage
- Improper tiling
- Fresh paint on only one wall
- Rotting or discolored wood
- Armature repairs
- Loose or missing handrails
- Any foreclosed property
4. Rooms that are “off limits”
Anytime a realtor says a room isn’t available to show, that could be a warning sign. If there’s anything not immediately available for viewing to the public, request a private viewing. No matter what the instance, every square inch of a home should be looked over before purchasing.
Inquire About How Old the Home is
One of the most important things not to leave out is getting the year that the home was constructed in. This can help you avoid potential hazards that you home might have, such as inadequate paint, faulty wallpapering, or dangerous ceiling materials.
Houses constructed from 1930 to 1950 might potentially carry asbestos, and that number goes up if a popcorn ceiling is present.
It wasn’t until the ’70s that both asbestos and lead paint were finally banned for residential use, so it’s important to keep those figures in mind.
Ask the realtor about those substances and know it's still good to get an inspection before buying the house.
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