If you’re a seasoned home buyer, you might have a love-hate relationship with your first home. If you’re yet to make that first special purchase, it’s an exciting step that’ll get you firmly on the property ladder.
But do you know what to look for when buying a house? Don’t make the mistake many first-time buyers do, and get a home inspection. Keep reading for 10 red flags you need to look out for when buying a property, which a good home inspector will spot.
1. Cracked or Bowed Walls
Cracking or bowing in either interior or exterior walls can hint at much bigger problems than just being an eyesore. Structural issues or subsidence could be lurking beneath the surface of your prospective home.
When a home’s foundations are compromised, it could spell disaster for a property, or might require deep pockets to fix. If the property is starting to look like the crooked house from the nursery rhyme, it’s got issues.
2. Fresh Paint Patches
As you walk around a prospective new home, you might see patches of new paint on top of old — red flag number 2. While these patches may mean nothing more than an owner took down an old light or painting and needed to fill a hole, it could be more sinister than that.
Paint patches could be covering mold, damp stains or pest issues the current owner doesn’t want you to see.
3. The Smell of Fresh Paint
If a property’s been repainted prior to sale, it’ll look bright, new and like the turnkey home many buyers are after. But a freshly painted home or basement could also mean another one of our home inspection red flags.
You’ll need to ask yourself, is the owner trying to hide something? It could be anything from their kids’ artistic endeavors, to serious mold, damp or damage, so if the house has been repainted, you’ll need to look beneath the surface.
4. A Damaged or Aging Roof
You’ll likely find that the older the home, the older the roof, so checking the roof is a must. Shingles are made from many different materials, and some wear faster than others.
Have a look at the roof, and identify any potential issues like shingles that are curling, cracked or covered in moss. And also check whether a warranty is in place, and how long’s left on it. It’s best to be prepared because a new roof will cost you.
5. Electrical Wiring or an Old Fuse Box
If the fuse box is old or outdated, then this is a huge red flag, because it means your potential home will probably need rewiring in the near future. Electrics have moved on in the last 20 years, and our energy needs are high.
While America’s using less energy than it was 10 years ago, we’re still using close to double the amount we were in 1990. Overloading old electrical circuits could not only cause your fusebox to blow but, more dangerously, could start a fire.
6. Pests or Insects
While the seller of your potential house may be moving out, it doesn’t mean that all the home’s residents got the memo. Unwanted occupants like cockroaches, ants, and termites — or worse (shudder) — could also live in in the house.
As they’re nocturnal, seeing a cockroach during the day, for example, may be a sign of a more serious infestation. And any wood-munching pests could cause the structural supports of the house to be compromised, so it’s one of the big things to look for in a home inspection.
7. Damp Patches or Water Damage
If a seller hasn’t tried to cover them up, then any damp patches or stains should be pretty evident during an inspection. There are many reasons for damp in properties, including faulty plumbing, leaky roofs, and condensation.
As damp and mold can have a serious impact on your health, you need to look for these potential issues before signing on the dotted line.
8. Open Windows in Cold Weather
If you walk into a house in the cold, cold winter and the window’s open, then you may have a problem. While it’s important to maintain proper ventilation in a home through the winter to prevent mold buildup, a home with serious mold issues will need serious ventilation.
Things like drying washing indoors can cause a buildup of damp, but if a home isn’t properly heated, it can cause damp and water buildup on wall surfaces. It could mean mold issues. Or it could be the seller’s in the middle of a hot flush — your home inspector will be able to tell the difference.
9. Poor Drainage
When a home is built, the land is graded, or excavated in such a way that it allows for proper water drainage from both inside and outside your house. This means that whenever you use your shower, your kitchen sink, or when it rains outside, you’re covered.
If the property hasn’t been graded properly, this could cause water to pool at the foundations, leading to damp, mold and even wood rot.
10. Lack of Compliance Documentation
When you enter a prospective new home, you might be drawn to the fantastic kitchen extension, or the basement conversion, but… did the seller get permission? And did they comply with building regulations?
Building compliance is important for making sure a structure is both safe and legal. Make sure that, before you buy, you get to view the compliance documentation. Once you purchase a property, any new structures become your responsibility — or liability.
What to Look for When Buying a House
When it comes to buying a house, it can be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, so be prepared to hold on tight. While there are a lot of potential red flags to look for when buying a property, that doesn’t mean that it’s a no-go.
Excess water is the bane of all homes, and cause things like mold, mildew and damp to spring up. When knowing what to look for when buying a house, you’ll also need to check for signs of pests and look over the electrical wiring, too.
A good home inspector will spot these issues, and can also let you know how serious they are, and how to deal with them. If you’re interested in a new property, why not schedule your home inspection today?