Red Flags to Look For When Buying a Home

October 12, 2015
Ali Batten

When viewing potential properties, there are certain things that every buyer should be looking for. It is also not uncommon that a buyer is overwhelmed with many different feelings, emotions which can, in turn, distract them from seeing some very important things while house hunting. Items such as the ages of the roof, furnace, and hot water heater are just a few of the top things to look for when buying a home.

Buyers should also be looking for potential red flags in a home when they are viewing them, and many of them should not be taken lightly. If any of the red flags are discovered it’s extremely important that they are addressed prior to signing on the dotted line.
So, what are the red flags to look for when buying a home?

Potential Foundation/Structural Problems
The foundation of a home is arguably the most important part of a home – and a home with a problematic foundation can cost a home owner thousands of dollars to correct a problem.
If a home is experiencing structural problems, look at the door frames throughout the home. If the door frames seem not to be square or the doors seem to have difficulty closing, it’s possible there could be some problems with the homes structure. The best way to determine whether a home has foundation or structural problems is by hiring a structural engineer to conduct an inspection on the home.

Pest and/or Insect Problems
Depending on the area of the home, there are certain pest and insects that buyers need to be on the lookout for. A severe pest problem should raise a red flag. Many pests, especially wood destroying pests, can cause damage to a home that can cost thousands of dollars to rectify. The most common pests that should raise red flags include termites, powder post beetles, and carpenter ants.
Generally speaking, the cost of a pest inspection is fairly inexpensive. We are offering our clients a special discounted price to Rentokil’s pest services. Simply follow or call 1300 307 221 to find out more information.

Fresh Paint
One of the best ways to prepare a home for sale is freshly painting. Painting a room is a fairly inexpensive way to make a room feel clean and fresh. This is one of the biggest recommendations that Real Estate Agents will give to home owners prior to listing their home for sale.
It is not suggested that a home owner paints one wall or a small area on a ceiling to cover up prior damage. When looking at homes, a room with only one wall or small portion of the ceiling that has been freshly painted should be a red flag. Why would a seller only paint a small part of the ceiling? Or only one wall? It’s possible the seller is trying to cover up a problem, which should be a cause for concern.

Amateur Workmanship & Repairs
There are some home owners who are extremely capable of doing quality work around their home, and there are others who are not. Amateur workmanship and dodgy DIY is something that buyers need to be on the look-out for when viewing properties.
It’s an extremely important consideration to make when buying a renovated property. Some of the most common amateur workmanship jobs to keep an eye out for when looking at homes include plumbing, carpentry, and electrical work. Many of these amateur workmanship issues are not discovered until a home inspection is completed on the home.

Poor Overall Neighbourhood Condition
It’s important for buyers to remember that when they are purchasing a home, they are not only purchasing the specific lot it sits on and the property itself, they are also purchasing the neighbourhood. A red flag that buyers need to look for when purchasing a home is a neighbourhood that has an overall poor condition.

Stains on Walls and/or Ceilings
If a seller has not attempted to cover up stains on a wall or ceiling with paint, this should still be viewed as a red flag when buying a home. Are the stains a result from a leak in the roof? Or a result of a plumbing issue? It’s possible the stains are from a prior problem that has been corrected.

Electrical System Issues
Depending on the age of a home, it’s possible there are issues with the electrical systems. It’s understood most home buyers are not professional electricians, however, simple things such as turning on light switches, checking for flickering lights, and checking outlets are all good ways to tell if the electrical seems to be working properly. Most home inspectors will inspect the electrical panel and test the outlets to ensure the electrical systems are not a safety concern.

Poor Drainage/Grading
Poor drainage is something that isn’t always easily detected. An obvious sign of poor drainage is pooling water, which can lead to water problems inside the home. Other signs of poor drainage can include overflowing gutters and migrating mulch in the flower beds.
Proper grading can make a huge difference when it comes to water problems. It’s important that the overall grading is sloping away from the homes foundation and that water is being run-off away from the homes foundation.

Similar to water problems, mould problems should raise red flags when buying a home. Mould can lead to major health problems, especially for young children. Mould problems are not always easily discovered, however, if a home you look at has mould problems, you need to consider whether the home is the right fit or not.
Mould remediation can be completed on a home, however, it can be costly. Like many of these red flags, most home inspectors can help discover mould problems in a home.

Final Thoughts
Buying a home is a huge event in anyone’s life, whether it’s a first time home buyer or an experienced home buyer. It’s critical that when buying a home, buyers are on the lookout for these red flags. While many of these red flags may not be found while viewing a home, many are likely to be found during a home inspection, which is another important reasons to have a home inspection when buying a home.

Contact either Owun, Suzanne or Costa on 02 9517 1818 or to discuss your options. Or, if you feel like dropping in at our office, we are located at Suite 106, Flourmill Studios, 3 Gladstone Street, Newtown 2042.
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Posted in: Home loans

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