5 red flags when buying a house

Red flag

If there’s ever a time to consider the saying ‘it’s too good to be true’, it’s when buying a new home. Buying a property is one of the biggest and most important financial decisions of your life, so it’s important to look out for any red flags that may cause trouble further down the line, and potentially put a damper on what can also be one of the most exciting times in your life.

Here are 5 red flags to look out for:

  1. Structural issues
    It’s not always obvious when there’s a structural problem and most properties have a few hairline cracks here and there, however if a crack is wider than ½ inch it’s sensible to have a foundation contractor examine the area, as this may indicate a weak foundation. Additionally, leaning or bulging walls, leaky roofs or uneven floors can be signs of structural problems so keep eyes peeled on those viewings and don’t be afraid to ask questions to the Estate Agent and seller.

  2. Unusual smells
    There are likely to be smells in other people’s homes that are different from our own, but strange, unpleasant smells could indicate a more serious issue, such as mold. Inhaling any type of mold over time can cause illnesses, contribute to respiratory symptoms and may indicate further problems with the house. In cases where the property has been cleared of mold, the problem could be with the drains or plumbing. Keep an eye out for lots of air fresheners and candles, if there’s more than a few located in one area they may be an indication of a cover up!
  3. Water stains
    Don’t forget to look up at the ceilings when viewing a house, as any water stains or a sagging ceiling may be signs of a plumbing problem or leaky roof. A leaky roof or window can also result in rotted structural wood over time, so if there is a leak it’s vital to find out where it’s coming from to assess how much damage it’s caused, before making any kind of offer.
  4. Location
    We all know that when house hunting location, location, location is one of the most important factors to consider. No matter how perfect the property may seem, if there’s many homes in the area up for sale this could be a red flag to look out for, as it could be an indication of problems with the surrounding area. Make sure to do your research so you’re clued up about crime rates, any plans for proposed landfill and any negative press about the neighbourhood.
  5. A bargain
    There’s no doubt we all love a bargain, but if the price tag seems too good to be true then the chances are that unfortunately it probably is. If the price seems like a steal there could be an underlying reason (or several) as to why, which could lead to expensive repairs further down the line. Look out for the red flags mentioned above and if you are serious about making an offer, it’s always worth having a survey done by a professional. However, be sure to speak to your Estate Agent about the seller’s circumstances too, as a good price could also simply be the result of them wanting a quick sale due to personal circumstances.

And with all that knowledge under your belt, happy house hunting!

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