10 Red Flags To Look For When Buying A Home

Dated: 01/31/2016

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Buying a home is an important and exciting time in one’s life. It is imperative to step back and look at the house leaving your emotions in check. While house hunting take into account such items as ages of the roof, furnace, and hot water heater. Here are some top red flags that a buyer should pay close attention to.

Potential Foundation/Structural Problems

When looking at homes, it’s important to be aware of the foundation. Most homes will have some minor cracking, as the house settles this happens. If you see large cracks you should investigate further to make sure there are no structural problems with the foundation. If the doors seem to have difficulty closing, it’s possible there could be some problems with the homes structure.

Pest and/or Insect Problems

Depending on the area of the home, there are certain pests and insects that buyers need to pay attention to.  Many pests, especially wood destroying pests, can cause damage to a home that can cost thousands of dollars to rectify. Most pest problems are hidden until a pest inspection is conducted. The cost of a pest inspection is well worth it.

Random Fresh Paint

Top Realtors will not suggest a home owner paints one wall or a small area on a ceiling to cover up prior damage. Be mindful when looking at homes, a room with only one wall or small portion of the ceiling that has been freshly painted should be a red flag. It could be that the seller is trying to cover up a bigger problem, if you see these types of repairs don’t hesitate to ask why they were made.

Amateur Workmanship & Repairs

DIYing is popular and less expensive than hiring a pro. Electrical and plumbing are two important areas of a home that always should be attended to by a professional. While house hunting, keep an eye out for DIY projects that may have been completed less than satisfactory.


It’s not uncommon that a home owner becomes immune to a foul odor. Foul odors are one of the easiest ways that a seller can kill a home sale.When looking at homes, pleasant odors can indicate that the seller is trying to cover up an offensive smell quite possibly coming from the carpets.

Poor Overall Neighborhood Condition

Check the neighborhood out where your potential home is located. Do the neighbors keep up their properties? Your neighborhood impacts the resale value of your home in the future. If there are vacant and boarded up properties you should possibly be concerned. Having said, that many areas are being rejuvenated, so do your homework. It’s always a chance you are taking to buy a home in one of these neighborhoods, but the gamble can pay off big in the long run.

Stains on Walls and/or Ceilings

If there are stains on a wall or ceiling in the home, it’s important to find out what has caused these stains. During your home inspection the cause should be discovered so that you are aware of a repair that was made in the past or needs attention to prior to signing on the dotted line.

Poor Drainage/Grading

Water in a home is something that almost every home buyer will be terrified of. It is natural that over time debris will end up against the foundation due to overflowing gutters, and general landscaping upkeep. This can easily be avoided by raking away from the house. Poor drainage is something that isn’t always easily detected. It’s important that the overall grading is sloping away from the home’s foundation and that water is being run-off away from the home.

Electrical System Issues

Depending on the age of a home, it’s possible there are issues with the electrical systems. Most home inspectors will inspect the electrical panel and test the outlets to ensure the electrical systems are not a safety concern. This is an all important issue to have resolved prior to moving into your home.

Mold can lead to major health problems, especially for young children. Mold remediation can be completed on a home; however, it can be costly. Like many of these red flags, most home inspectors can help discover mold problems in a home. The most common areas for mold in a home are basements and attics; however, it can be hidden in the walls and not apparent until possible future renovations are in process. If mold is common in your area, it would be worth the cost of have a specialty company that performs mold tests inspect to determine whether the home has mold or not.

In Conclusion

While many of these red flags may not be found while viewing a home, many of these red flags are likely to be found during a home inspection, which is another important reason to have a home inspection when buying a home. When buying a home it is crucial to pick an experienced Realtor, they will have a second set of eyes to pick up on any deficiencies while walking through the house and property.

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Sam Lepore

Sam Lepore is a Realtor with Keller Williams in Moorestown, NJ. Call him today at 856.297.6827 ....

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