If it’s too good to be true…it probably is – especially in the real estate market. Though the photos are lovely, the price is right, and the location is perfect, remember to keep your emotions in check so you don’t gloss over signs that could spell trouble. Consider some of these red flags before you make an offer.
Vertical and diagonal hairline cracks in a concrete or brick foundation are normal settling, but larger cracks that run horizontally can be an indication of more serious foundation damage or structural instability.
If lights flicker or don’t turn on, ceiling fans won’t run, or outlets don’t work, these could all be symptoms of faulty or outdated wiring.
Fresh, but random paint
A single freshly painted wall in one room or other random spots of new paint could signal hidden defects like water stains.
If the house smells funny, it could be an indication of previous smoke or fire damage, plumbing or septic tank issues, or mold or water damage, which could lead to respiratory issues. Be sure and look underneath sinks, windows and crawl spaces for possible leaks.
Doors that don’t close
Loose hinges could be the culprit of latch misalignment, causing the doors not to close properly, but it could also indicate the house has shifted. While It’s common for homeowners to trim the tops and bottoms of doors so they’ll close, it doesn’t solve the settling problem.
Puddles of standing water in the yard can be a sign of poor drainage, which, if the water sits next to your foundation, can leak into your basement or crawlspace and cause property damage. Look for water stains high up on the foundation.
Large termite colonies can wreak havoc on a house. Be on the lookout for small pinpoint holes in drywall, discolored droppings on a floor near a wall, or hollow sounds on wood surfaces.
Foggy double window panes can mean a broken window seal. This happens when windows begin to deteriorate, moisture to seep in, causing the windows to become cloudy.
If shingles are curling, cracking, dry, or blistering, or if they’re missing in patches, it’s a good indication that a new roof is needed.
If the unit is making a loud noise, smells odd, looks visibly old and rusty, and doesn’t seem to be heating or cooling, the need for a new HVAC system is most likely on the horizon.