Before you head out to your first open house, you should be aware of potential red flags that could indicate a home might not be a good investment. A seller can disguise a potential issue with a home that may require a lot of pricey repairs shortly after closing. In order to avoid those costs, here are some red flags for home buyers to look for during a home showing.
1. Strong Scents
Obviously, you want the home to smell pleasant when you visit, but be wary of a home with many candles or air fresheners. The sellers may be hiding the scent of mold or evidence of a past fire. Be sure to walk into every room, including the basement, and put your nose to work. Try to determine if any area of the house is musty or has smoke damage.
2. Dirty House
As you walk through the house, take notice of the overall cleanliness. Are the toilets, tubs and sinks clean? Are the vents free of dust and debris? Is the exterior free from mold/mildew and is the yard clean? If sellers are not maintaining the surface cleanliness, chances are they are not maintaining larger items in their home that can lead to big problems in the future. Diligent home owners should be changing filters in the heating and cooling system, monitoring outdoor yard grading to ensure no leaks, repairing faulty appliances and monitoring faucets for leaks. Be sure to check these items and always get a home inspection prior to purchasing a new home.
3. Evidence of Mold
If you encounter a musty odor in the home, you will most likely encounter mold. Mold grows when there is moisture present in the home. Areas that should be checked for mold include caulking in the bathrooms, under the stairs, areas where there is a sump pump or water treatment system is located, and ceilings. Prior to purchasing a home with mold issues, the seller should pay to remediate the mold, and repair the cause of water intrusion in the home.
4. Nearby Water
Most home buyers who move to the Annapolis area do so because of the water amenities. When touring a home be sure to check with FEMA to determine if your home is in a flood zone. Depending on the topography and proximity to the water, the home can be at risk for flooding which will mean you may be required to purchase flood insurance. Apart from the hassle of repairing a home that has been flooded, flood insurance can add significantly to your yearly home expenses.
5. Foundation Issues
Not all cracks in the foundation of a home are created equal. Small cracks can be quite common, but more investigation should be put into larger foundation cracks. Also, check sticking doors and windows and cracks above window and door frames, as these may indicate a foundation issue. A sloping floor can also be an indication of structural issues in the home. Again, always get a home inspection, and if you are concerned about the structural integrity of the home, be sure to hire a structural engineer.
The above are just a few red flags for you to keep in mind when viewing a home that is on the market. Contact me for more information and other red flags you should be aware of when searching for your new home.