What should you look for when house shopping?

Every home buyer’s worst nightmare is to walk into their new house and discover hidden damages. So how can you prevent this from happening? The only foolproof way is to get a home inspection. However, there are some things that you can look out for at open houses and showings before hiring an inspector.

Here are some red flags to look for when buying a new house.

Deferred Maintenance

“Check for any major deferred maintenance, such as issues with the roof, foundation, or electrical panel,” says Realtor®️ Lewis Dahlberg. “These can bring unforeseen expenses after closing.”

Any major issues with the house’s structure should be a huge red flag. Especially without an inspection, the visible damage may only be the tip of the iceberg. Not only are these repairs costly (we’re talking several thousands of dollars), but they can also take a long time. This means that your move-in day may be pushed back, which is especially problematic when you’re set to move out of your old home by a certain date.

Recently Painted Basement

A recently painted basement could potentially be a red flag. Realtor®️ Stephanie Walls says,“Always check to see if the basement has been recently painted because a lot of times fresh paint means that they are covering a problem.” While fresh paint may be a result of a recent renovation, it could also be hiding major water damage.

Stephanie knows first-hand how problematic a recently painted basement is. After showing her buyer a beautiful home this year, she discovered that the freshly painted basement wasn’t just part of the recent renovations. It was actually hiding damage from years of water “literally pouring” into the basement. If gone unnoticed, this could have been a very costly issue for the buyers.

“Always research as much as possible about the basement. If you do decide to purchase the home, make sure to write in and request a further inspection of the basement.”

Not Hiring an Agent

Think you’ll get the best deal from a FSBO? Think again. Many FSBO’s drastically overprice their homes due to a lack of market knowledge, which is why Realtor®️ John Nelson always advises getting a real estate agent. Not only can listing agents price the house appropriately, they will also make sure that the home is sold correctly with the proper inspections. There are many issues that sellers must legally disclose to potential buyers and an agent will make sure that the seller is acting honestly.

For both buyers and sellers, have your own agent can take a lot of the stress away. There is often a mound of paperwork that comes with any real estate transaction for both sides of the deal. For the buyer and the seller, this might be a time-consuming and headache-inducing process. For an experienced agent, however, these forms are very familiar and they know exactly how to deal with any bumps that may arise.

Bad Neighborhoods

“You’ll want to take a look at the surrounding neighborhood. Is it well kept?” advises Realtor®️ Lewis Dahlberg. A run-down neighborhood may signal that the houses are not being taken care of, including the house that you are looking at. If there are a lot of homes for sale in the neighborhood, that could show that a lot of people want to leave the area.

In addition, the condition of the surrounding neighborhood can majorly impact your property value. While a run-down neighborhood will bring your property value down, a newly renovated area can increase your property value. One thing to keep in mind is the future of your neighborhood. There are many initiatives in certain Wisconsin neighborhoods that are aiming to improve the overall economy of the area. This could be a good thing for current and potential homeowners in the area as the changes will greatly increase the property value.

Be sure to research the neighborhood you are going to move into. Check property value trends, school rating, local crime statistics, and other economic factors before committing to an area. For more help on finding the perfect neighborhood, click here.

Two Many Smells

Any bad smells should immediately be a huge red flag. Some smells may be easy to remove, such as cleaning carpets to get rid of a lingering pet smell. However, others may require a bit more work. For example, a lingering smoke smell will require a full repainting of the house. Even worse, some smells could signal much larger issues. Musty smells are often a result of mold or water damage, which require extensive repairs and costs for potential buyers.

Sometimes, even too many good smells can be a bad sign. If every room has candles and wall plug-ins at full blast, the seller may be trying to cover some foul odors. While a house’s smell is far from a deal breaker for most people, it could be a sign that there are bigger issues with the house that should be investigated.  

Bottom Line

Regardless of how perfect the house may seem to you, you always need to hire an inspector to uncover any hidden problems. While you may be willing to make some repairs yourself in exchange for a reduced price, there could be some needed repairs that are bigger than you want to deal with. Make sure you are comfortable with any issues that may come with the house so that you’ll be happy there for a long time.

Want to start your house hunt? Click here to contact us!

Featured Agents

Lewis Dahlberg

Stephanie Walls

john nelson prrJohn Nelson