Red Flags When Buying a House

With so many considerations to weigh in potential properties, here are some red flags to look out for when buying a house, especially during the viewing.

  1. Poor tiling or flooring work. This would be a sign of a bad flip or remodeling job, and you could end up spending a lot of money to fix it.
  2. Foundation issues. Hairline cracks are usually a sign the house is settling as it ages, but larger gaps or cracking could signal a bigger issue with the foundation.
  3. Poor maintenance. If it is apparent from the walk-through that the seller has failed to keep the property in good condition, there might be even worse problems beneath the surface. A poorly maintained home might require costly repairs or renovations.
  4. Nearby water. If the home is near a pond, lake, canal, ocean or other body of water, the property could be at a higher risk of flooding. Ask your real estate agent to find out if the property is in a FEMA flood zone, which might trigger the need to buy special flood insurance in addition to homeowners insurance.
  5. Poorly installed windows. This could be a sign of foundation problems or a bad remodeling job requiring new windows. If you need help, check with your real estate agent.
  6. Mold. Check the bathroom and sink cabinets, as well as take a look around water pipes or drains. Look for small black or gray spots. You can also check the caulking around faucets as well as look for patches on the ceiling.
  7. Water damage. A musty odor may be a sign of water damage. Be sure to check walls and ceilings for water lines, and look out for exposed piping in basements or laundry rooms to check for rust, water stains or leaks.
  8. Improper ventilation. Poor ventilation increases the risk of mold. Look for condensation on windows or slightly bubbled or peeling paint around windows, doors or vents. This might mean there’s moisture in the walls or in the ceiling drywall.

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