Buying a new home is tough, and sometimes sellers don’t make it easy as they will do anything to make their property more appealing to potential buyers. Unfortunately, it’s left up to the buyer to search out those red flags before the ink dries. “Let the buyer beware” might be an overused expression, but it’s a perfect cautionary phrase to keep top of mind when you’re buying a new home. Here are seven red flags you should look for when looking to buy a new home.
#1. Avoid listings with fewer photos when buying a new home.
Would you be hesitant about dating someone who avoided showing you how they looked before meeting them? We would too. The same alarms firing off that tell you this is a red flag can be applied to the process of buying a new home. You should be immediately suspicious of the listing’s lack of photos because they’re likely hiding something. The house could need substantial work, renovations or repairs you don’t want to be stuck fixing. If you’re brave enough to do a walkthrough, just remember not to freak out as you pull up to what could be a disaster.
Another possibility is the listing isn’t telling you the full story. Yes, this does happen from time to time. We saw one listing recently that listed the house as having a pool. Well, it had a pool alright…a blow-up one you would buy from Walmart, and it wasn’t in their backyard either, but in their unfinished basement. It was incredibly misleading, unprofessional and not to mention dangerous.
#2. Watch out for neighbourhoods with a lot of homes for sale.
If you notice a lot of homes for sale in a specific area, be on high alert. The property could be in a bad part of town or some kind of event has happened in the area forcing homeowners to flee before the information becomes widespread. On the other hand, it might be removed from amenities like grocery stores, schools or malls. Research the area before considering the house because you don’t want to move in and find yourself trapped in a less than ideal living situation when buying a new home.
#3. Prices that are too good to be true is a big red flag.
You know the old saying about things being too good to be true. Listing agents might be trying to create a bidding war to panic buyers into buying a new home with serious problems. Be vigilant. The sellers and their agent might want to unload the house as fast as possible before people catch a whiff of what might be foul with the property.
#4. Does the air smell funny? It Could be mould from leaks you’re not seeing.
If you notice a musty, earthy smell in the air during a walkthrough, then there might be mould somewhere in the house. Enormous red flag! Prolonged mould exposure can lead to a whole host of respiratory symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, coughing, and other illnesses, things you don’t want your family to live with. The presence of mould means something isn’t right in the home, and it’s your job to suss it out.
Check for possible leaks under sinks, around windows, in crawl spaces and everywhere in the basement because you never know where moisture might be creeping in. Also, check for permanent damage in need of repairs—for example, carpeting, drywall, exposed wood that’s rotted and the foundation itself.
#5. Always check the foundation for issues.
Foundation repair is a massive repair bill you DO NOT want to take on, especially when you’ve just bought a house. Diggers will tear your property to pieces as they excavate the problem areas to repair the foundation.
Take a walk around the out and inside of the house to ensure its structural integrity isn’t compromised. If you’re unsure of your judgement, hire a home inspector for a second opinion because it could save you an enormous headache down the road.
#6. Test the faucets and drains before taking the plunge.
Your spouse might think you’re weird, but always check faucets and drains for low water pressure. Low water pressure could be a sign of serious plumbing issues that you can’t easily spot walking around the house.
Check to see if one of the home’s main water valves isn’t shut off or turned just enough to change the flow. However, clogs are usually the culprits, which means pipes will need to be thoroughly cleaned or even replaced before the pressure returns to normal.
#7. Keep an eye out for pest problems.
We’re getting the heebie-jeebies just thinking about this red flag. Sometimes sellers will do anything to make their property as appealing as possible at the moment, and that includes laying down traps or spraying insecticides to cover up a possible infestation. Look for traps and insecticides lying around the house because they could be a sign of infestation issues. Check corners, behind furniture and around the window seals (especially in the basement). You never know where creepy crawlers could be setting up shop.
The Golfi Team are trained professionals at spotting these kinds of red flags in home listings. Let us give you peace of mind knowing that your next purchase will be one of the best decisions you’ll make by having us with you every step of the way!
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