The decision to buy a home is often exciting, but it can be incredibly expensive.
Not only do real estate agents take a hefty cut (typically around 3% to 6% of a home’s sale price), but you’ll also have to pay for a slew of other fees.
Some of those fees, however, should never be avoided — like a home inspection fee. While it may be tempting to bypass an official home inspection in the interest of making a more attractive offer, you should never go to such drastic measures. Otherwise, you might miss out on some property red flags.
Of course, you should also learn how to spot some of these red flags on your own. While these don’t necessarily mean you should immediately walk away from a sale, it’s important to know what you’re getting into. And if you’re not in a financial position (or an emotional state, for that matter) to take on some massive repairs, you’ll need to give your offer some careful thought if you observe any of the following signs.
Major home appliances and systems like furnaces, air conditioners, electrical work, plumbing, and sewer system can last for decades. Conventional water heaters, for instance, can last 10 to 12 years.
If a major appliance hasn’t been replaced in a decade, that’s not always going to be a rule-breaker. But you should definitely inquire after the age of the home’s major systems, particularly if you’re looking at an older home.
You might even be able to convince the seller to replace them as part of your offer or agree to a lower price on the home — but unless you plan ahead, you could be stuck with a major expense shortly after moving in.
Cracks, Stains, or Warps
Water damage should be a huge concern for homebuyers.
After all, more than 98% of homes with basements will experience some type of water damage! In some cases, water damage will be obvious; in others, you’ll have to go searching for it. Be sure to look for water stains on the walls and ceilings, cracks or sags, bubbling floors, or even dripping sounds.
You might also want to be concerned about fresh paint. While many sellers will paint a room prior to selling, beware if they’ve painted just one wall or if the paint looks out of place. They could be trying to cover up a stain or crack that shouldn’t be there.
Of course, no one wants to move into a home that smells musty. Since this is a sign of water damage and even mold growth, many sellers will try to cover up strange odors with strong air fresheners. But they might forget to do so in the basement or garage.
Put faith in your nose and proceed with caution if you notice any odd smells. While it’s not always going to indicate that the home isn’t right for you, it’s something you should bring up to your home inspector before they perform their services.
If you’ve been saving up for years to buy a home, you’ll want to do everything in your power to ensure it’s a good investment (and not a money pit). With these tips in mind, you can make a smart decision that won’t leave you feeling buyer’s remorse.