Buying a home can be a joyful experience whose benefits you get to enjoy for the rest of your life. But this is only possible if you have no regrets about your purchase. Many people buy their first, second, or last homes blindly without performing all necessary due diligence and thus end up with a financial burden that they can’t even sell off without incurring losses. To avoid experiencing such when next you set out to buy a home, there are some important red flags you need to look out for during the home inspection. The most critical of said red flags include:
- Possible structure or foundation issues
If you buy a home whose foundation is damaged, it’s fair to say you have bought a problem – an expensive problem. The foundation of a home is what the entire structure is built on, which means a problem with the foundation can spell doom for the entire structure. And to rectify such a problem can cost hundreds or even thousands of pounds.
Problems with a home’s foundation are typically characterised by cracks in the wall of the basement, especially if the cracks are large. Another sign of problems with the foundation are if door frames around the house appear not to be square or if certain doors have difficulty fitting into their frames. But the most effective way to determine if a building’s foundation is solid is to have a structural engineer verify it. Either way, if you suspect there is a problem with the foundation of a home you are interested in, do not ignore it.
- Bad neighbourhood
When buying a home, the property itself is important, but the neighbourhood where it is located is just as important. If you are trying to buy a property and you believe the neighbourhood is in decline and may not rebound, you are likely better off seeking a home elsewhere. This is because a decline in the quality of the neighbourhood will in time negatively impact the market value of the property.
As part of your due diligence, it is important to confirm that the neighbourhood is in overall good condition. Avoid neighbourhoods where there is a prevalence of vacant or boarded up properties, or a neighbourhood with a high crime rate, poor accessibility and lack of basic amenities. A home in a bad neighbourhood may be available at a lower price but remember that the neighbourhood’s decline will eventually reduce the property’s value further.
- Pest, insect, or rodent problems
You need to ensure certain pests or insects haven’t made a home on a property before you decide to purchase it. For instance, it would be a horrible mistake to purchase a property where termites, wasps, powder post beetles, carpenter ants, or bees have made a home within the property’s walls. The type of pests to look out for will typically depend on the location where the property is situated. Wood destroying pests can bring a house down on your head and cost of repairing the damage might as well amount to buying another house. A thorough home inspection, including pest inspection, will bring to light if a home has an infestation problem and if it is worth buying.
- Random fresh paint
Signs of random fresh paint is often evidence that the property seller is trying to hide something. Be sure to investigate instead of overlook such a red flag. A fresh coat of paint is known to be one of the most cost effective ways to hide a property’s flaws. If you notice that certain rooms or wall portions have a different paint colour, you should ask questions or have your home inspector pay extra attention to such areas.
- Peculiar odours
If you smell something odd, you should look into it. Strange odours in a house could be a sign of a variety of serious problems ranging from rot to sewage or plumbing issues. It’s not just unpleasant odours you should pay attention to but also rooms that smell unusually pleasant compared to others in the house. Rooms with overwhelming pleasant odour could be a sign of the property owner trying to hide something air refresher.
- Stains on ceilings or walls
Stains on the wall could be a sign of rot or something else wrong within the wall. Stains on the roof on the other hand could be the sign of a leak or ice damming. Whatever the case maybe, ask the home seller and have your home inspector verify it and provide you information concerning cost of fixing such a problem. It can even be possible to negotiate to have the home seller fix the cause of the stain before you accept to buy. Failure to look into a stain on wall or ceiling can result in worst case scenarios resulting in thousands of pounds in repairs down the road.
- Electrical system issues
If during a home inspection you come across burnt wall sockets or rooms that have no power, you should look into it thoroughly before deciding to buy the house. This is because such problems at times can be more complicated than they appear at first glance. Electrical issues should be taken especially serious if the house is an older structure with probably outdated wiring. A professionally performed home inspection will let you know if the problem is with the electrical raiser cable or due to improper wiring throughout the home, or something else.
- Poor drainage
Majority of water problems in a home are caused by poor or faulty drainage. Such a problem might not be easily detectable unless looked at by an experienced home inspector who knows what to look out for. A common sign of poor drainage is pooling water in the yard, mold, overflowing gutters, water stains on basement walls, and cracking in the foundation. If the drainage problem has been ongoing for some time, it may have already caused significant damage to the property.
Regardless how much you spend or if it’s your first buy, buying a home is serious business and should be a happy event for you. And you can ensure such is the case if you take heed of the red flags mentioned above. Don’t be lazy or stingy about having a home inspected before you move to pay for it. Take a look around yourself then have a professional inspector also do it. You can be sure that the cost of hiring a professional home inspector is far less than the cost of regretting not hiring one.