Sometimes, if a great deal on your dream house is too good to be true, it probably is. From foundation problems to water damage, there can be plenty of reasons that what might seem like a fixer-upper at first ends up being a total money pit. If you’re going house-hunting, it’s important to be diligent when it comes to inspecting houses that you’re interested in buying. Here are the major warning signs to look for in a house so that you don’t avoid end up wasting your money on a potential financial black hole.
Obvious foundation issues
Foundation issues are one of the most costly problems you’ll have to deal with in any house. Thankfully, it’s quite easy to spot if you know what you’re looking for. Keep your eyes peeled for the following signs that the house may have a weak or sinking foundation:
- Gaps between the ground and the garage doors
- Bulging, uneven floors
- Stuck doors and windows
- Cracked walls
- Leaning chimney
An owner or realtor that refuses an inspection
Sometimes, you don’t even need to look too far to find red flags with a potential purchase. Your interactions with the owner or realtor selling you the property are already a dead giveaway that the property either is or isn’t worth your time and investment. If they refuse your request to conduct a home inspection or don’t allow you to hire your own inspector, then they might be hiding a costly problem from you. You should never go through with a purchase without having a home inspector thoroughly investigate the property first.
Put your nose to the test and try to sniff out any odd smells when touring a home. You shouldn’t smell any mustiness, foul odors, or smokiness. Otherwise, there may be a problem with mold, broken sewage pipes, or pest infestation. If the home is masked by an overpowering smell of air freshener, the seller or realtor may be trying to hide something from you. Ideally, the property shouldn’t have a very distinct or overwhelming scent.
Too many properties up for sale
Don’t limit your inspection of the property to simply what’s inside the house. Look around the neighborhood too and ask for information about the surrounding properties. If you notice too many homes up for sale, you have to wonder why so many people are trying to move out. Sometimes, it may just be a coincidence but it may also point to something more serious, such as high crime rates, economic downturn, or lack of employment opportunities.
Evidence of water damage and pest infestation
Evidence of water damage and pest infestation are easy to spot, so you should have no problem finding them early on in your house tour. Ignoring these problems can lead to more serious issues in the long run that will require extensive and expensive repairs. Make sure to check for these signs:
- Leaks, stains, or bloated walls
- Cracks, holes, or damage on wooden surfaces
- Piles of dirt, dust, or wooden shavings
Don’t fall victim to a home that seems too good to be true. Keep your eyes peeled for these red flags when buying a home to save yourself from financial disaster.