House Hunting? 10 Major Red Flags To Watch Out For When Visiting A Potential Home
Let's be honest: a lot of homebuyers get too emotional when looking for our dream home. It’s easy to "fall in love" with the home’s charming features, price, location, and ability to make them feel more like home. However, potential homebuyers who get too attached to the house, whom they thought was "the one" tend to make a big mistake: ignore the red flags.
While you can forgive minor imperfections, like a bad paint job, there are certain dealbreakers you shouldn't condone. Letting these big issues pass can cause wasted time and money and major inconveniences in the long run.
Buying your first home? Here are 10 huge deal-breakers to watch out for when visiting a potential house.
1. Major foundation issues
Check the roof and attic. Is the roof decaying? Are there any shingles missing? How about any signs of leaks? See the outside walls. Do they show visible cracks? Is the siding loose, rotten, or decayed? Are there visible cracks above the window frames. Roll a marble from one side to another. Are the floors uneven?
You can be forgiving when it comes to cosmetic issues - but not when it comes to a faulty foundation.
2. Signs of neglected property maintenance
Issues like leaky faucets, ceiling stains, burned-out lightbulbs, long grass, faded paint, and pests are telltale signs of deferred property maintenance. If the home seller failed to fix maintenance issues, you can only imagine what your home inspection will reveal.
3. Overly steep lot
The steepness of your lot area is more significant than its size. If it’s too steep, it may hinder you from adding a deck, an extra room, or a backyard element. It may also affect the way you walk, especially on rainy days when roads become extra slippery.
4. Poor house orientation on the lot
Assess how the house is positioned on its lot. This could affect how much natural light your home gets, and how this can influence your heating and cooling bills.
If you want to maximize natural light, you may want to have a south-facing home. If you want a cooler home in hot climates, you may consider a north-facing home with deep eaves.
5. Extremely narrow driveway
No homebuyer cares about this aspect - until they buy a house and realize that their huge van won’t fit the extremely narrow driveway. Making the situation worse is the cars parked on the streets, making driving more challenging.
6. Bad air quality
Ideally, you should be able to breathe fresh, clean air. So if you smell something foul, ask your property buyers agent about the nearby properties. The home might be located near a piggery, contaminated creek, factory and other establishments responsible for the odor and bad air quality.
7. Strong odor
Are there any foul smells inside and outside of the home? Strong odors might be warning signals to a bigger existing problem. You might have a problem with mold, sewage, burnt electrical equipment, dead animal stuck in the plumbing or duct system, or a gas leak.
Aside from asking your property buyers agent about the history of the house, it’s a smart move to hire inspectors to assess the problem.
8. Lack of privacy
How close your home to your neighbors can influence how private your house feels over another. If privacy is a top priority, check the views from every window. The distance between you and the home next to you should be too close to bother you whenever the neighbor’s dog barks or when they’re hosting a BBQ party.
9. Potential damage to natural calamities
Ask your property buyers agent about the location. Is it located near a creek and other water systems, making it prone to flooding? Should you be concerned with potential earthquakes and landslides? Is it located near an active volcano?
Forget the low selling price or the lovely architectural details: if the labor, inconvenience, and costs that come with the upkeep won’t give you peace of mind in the long run, it’s better not to buy it in the first place.
10. A neighborhood that doesn’t suit your lifestyle
Are there any school districts? How about accessible public transportation systems? Is the home close to work, supermarkets, restaurants, and other major commercial areas? Is the neighborhood walkable or bikeable?
Drive around to get a good feel of the neighborhood and see if it would cater to your needs.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a resident writer for Bridge to Bricks Property Buyer’s Agent, a leading property buyer’s agent in Sydney. Her fondness for architecture, interior design, and real estate makes it easy for her to write inspiring pieces of content.