If you are in the market for a home today, we in Windsor real estate congratulate you! Being a homeowner is a great and wonderful experience and with so many excellent properties on the market, there is certainly a home out there ready for you.
Of course, buying a home isn’t always easy and there can be some challenging moments. Like anything, this experience can have its stresses, but as long as a buyer understands this, and takes advice from a professional real estate agent when needed, it doesn’t have to be a daunting task.
But there are red flags that a buyer should be aware of when looking at a home. As a real estate agent for over 20 years, chances are, I have seen it all. Here are some issues that we have seen in the past that ended up causing a few headaches for the buyer.
1. Neighbours are fleeing like flies: If you notice that there are several other homes for sale in a neighbourhood you are considering, you need to ask why? Are businesses going away or boarded up? If everyone is leaving, then it surely is not a good sign. Even if the curb appeal is outstanding, the home is at a bargain price, a buyer and his agent must do a little research. For all you know, city may be planning on putting in a dump or prison.
2. Poor Maintenance: If a home has clearly seen better days and the sellers have made zero attempt to clean it up or make even the most minimal of repairs, then it makes one wonder what else they have neglected. Signs of poor maintenance include a roof that is in shambles, plants growing out of the gutters, weeds and poor landscaping, a much-needed paint job and a house that hasn’t been cleaned in preparation for buyers. Sellers that take little interest in their buyers, take little interest in their homes.
3. Bad smells: Whether a home smells like something died or you are next to a paper mill, anything that smells bad singles something may not be quite right. Or, beware of buyers that have huge bouquets of potpourri and fragrant candles all over the house. When something smells a little off, then an investigation needs to happen if a buyer is seriously interested in the property.
4. Older homes with faulty wiring: Older homes often have older wiring. Buyers can do a simple test to make sure all of the outlets and switches are working correctly by switching them off and on. Flickering lights, warm or hot outlets and circuits that don’t work may mean there are wiring problems. Of course, a home inspector will be able to investigate further, but be sure that you tell him your concerns.
5. Fresh paint on the wall: Now normally, this does not cause any red flags. The majority of sellers will paint a room prior to putting it on the market. But, there are those sellers that may paint to hide problems such as water damage, mold or mildew. If you notice a room has a musty smell or see saggy walls, ceilings or stains, then have an inspector check for leaks and mold.
6. Locked rooms: Any seller that locks off a portion of a home and says that they are “off limits,” can mean any number of things. They may be in the middle of making repairs, or perhaps they have guests visiting. Regardless, if you are interested in the property, then you need to make another appointment with the seller to view the entire property. If they are reluctant to do this any time soon, then find out why. Chances are, if they make a showing difficult, then you need to walk away. A seller should never make it a problem to view the property and should offer an explanation on why a room should not be shown.
7. Foggy windows: We see this occasionally, where double-paned windows have water in between the glass. Check all windows when viewing a property and if you notice, then it needs to be brought to the attention of the seller and a home inspector if you make an offer.
8. Bugs! Walking into a home that is infested with bugs, whether it be roaches, mice, insects or termites obviously means there is trouble. Always be on the look out for any creatures and ask if the seller has ever had any prior problems, especially with termites.
9. Structural walls have been removed: If you can tell that a homeowner recently renovated, you may want to know if any structural walls were removed because they can shift weight to other parts of a home. It’s especially important to have a structural engineer check out any concerns you may have, especially if the homeowner did work on his own or if proper codes weren’t followed.
Again, with any home, get a home inspection. Not only will this make you sleep better at night, but any red flags will be properly addressed and can avoid costing you thousands and thousands of dollars in repairs.