Shopping for a home can be one of the most exciting – and one of the most stressful – times of your life. Chances are that you already have an idea of just the kind of future home you are looking for . . . and chances are you will never be able to find exactly that. Therefore, home shopping should be approached with an open mind, an attitude of patience and, perhaps most importantly, a realistic attitude. Never bring your emotions to a home viewing; it is important that you are able to see things very clearly, for better or for worse – but especially for worse. There are certain things a home viewing can reveal that should have you running in the other direction, or at least asking a lot of questions.
Here are 5 red flags to look for when viewing homes.
1. Poor neighborhood curb appeal. Not only should the home you are viewing have a warm and inviting feel from the outside, but the other homes in the neighborhood should have a similar feel. It does your home’s value no good to be pristine and appealing if the neighbor’s homes have you wanting to run and hide.
2. Neglect. Signs of superficial neglect – cracked paint, overgrown yards, and unhinged doors – are often indicative of neglect on a larger scale. Sure, all of the superficial flaws may be easily fixed . . . but what else lurks underneath?
3. Foundation problems. Look for a lawn that slopes down toward the house, and for noticeable cracks in viewable parts of the foundation. Foundation problems are a serious issue, and probably one you want to steer clear from unless you’re ready to make a big investment (on top of the home purchase, that is).
4. Faulty wiring. As you do the walk-through, check that all of the light switches work. Also, look for flickering lights and for unused outlets. These are all signs of faulty wiring – especially in an older home – which can be a very expensive and time-consuming problem to fix.
5. Off-limits areas. A home viewing is never complete unless you see the entire home – closets, storage rooms and all. A closed and locked door during a viewing is a major red flag. Demand to see what is behind the door, or move on to another home.
Your home purchase is quite possibly the largest investment you will make in your lifetime. Take that investment seriously by knowing exactly what you are getting into before you even get into it. There are some obvious signs that a home for sale might not be for you. Know those signs and pay close attention for them next time you attend a home viewing.
About the Author: Von Eslinger loves writing about real estate. He enjoys sharing tips about renting, purchasing, and using sites like Tenant Hunter to help manage your properties.