When it comes to buying a new home, you have plenty of ideas of what you need and what you would like to have. You have your dream home etched clearly in your mind. As you view homes, you’re constantly on the hunt to ensure that the home has everything you want. But do you know what you don’t want? Even if the home has the features you seek, there are several things you should be on the lookout for as well as some questions you should ask your realtor. Here are six red flags about a new home you simply can’t ignore.
1. Lots of Homes for Sale in the Neighborhood
If there are several homes for sale near the house that you’re considering, or there are empty or boarded up buildings, you may want to reconsider that location. The fact that several families are looking to leave or that there are several vacant lots could indicate that the neighborhood is declining. Ask your realtor about the area as well as what the crime rates are. People could be leaving or have left because the area was experiencing too much crime.
2. Cracked or Missing Shingles
The roof is the home’s main defense against the elements. If shingles are cracked, warped or missing all together, you run the risk of water damage inside the house. A strong storm could lead to leaks or, worse yet, cause the roof to collapse, resulting in some costly repairs. Ask your realtor how old the roof is and if it has seen any major storm damage. It also couldn’t hurt to ask if the current owner is planning on having any repairs done prior to closing.
3. Cracks in the Foundation
A good foundation is essential to ensuring that the house stands strong. Cracks in the foundation can lead to leaks, and even floods, during storms. These leaks could cause a flood depending on the severity of the storm. Water damage not only has the potential to ruin floors, walls and furniture, it could lead to a severe mold issue. Both of these could cost you a significant amount to repair.
4. Old HVAC
Old HVAC units could lead to several problems. First, they don’t heat and cool as effectively as newer units, meaning you could be spending significantly more in electric bills. Secondly, old units could produce carbon monoxide, a hazardous gas for anyone to breath in. These units are expensive to repair or replace, so make sure you ask your realtor how old it is. If it is too old, or bordering too old, ask if the homeowner plans on replacing it.
5. Old or Faulty Wiring
When walking through the house, be sure to check light switches and investigate outlets. Old wiring doesn’t have the capability to keep up with today’s electrical needs, which could lead to tripped breakers every time you try to use your devices. Also, faulty wiring could potentially lead to a fire. Be sure to ask if the homeowner is planning on fixing any wiring issues or making any home improvements before selling.
6. Suspicious Smells
Your nose could clue you in to a potential problem. If something smells a little funky, there could potentially be an issue. One such issue is mold, which can cause some severe health problems. Bad smells aren’t the only thing to be wary of. If the house smells overly pleasant (there are candles or air fresheners in every room), the current homeowner may be trying to cover something. Inquire about any smells that don’t seem right to you.
House-hunting (especially if you’re a first-time home buyer) is often a long, arduous process. Your work doesn’t end after you think you’ve finally found your dream home; you still have some work to do. You need to carefully investigate your potential new home for any signs that something is wrong. Talk with your real estate agent. Ask questions. Finally, make sure you have a complete home inspection done by a certified professional home inspector who can find anything you may have overlooked.