So, you think you’ve found your South Florida dream home? It’s an impressive property that’s within budget and checks all your boxes. Did you hit the homebuyer jackpot, or are there red flags you’re overlooking?
To the naked eye, a home might appear to be everything you could hope for, however, it’s crucial to go into a viewing knowing what potential caveats to look for that could eventually burn a hole in your pocket or turn your investment into a homeowner’s nightmare. Although the seller may not be aware of all the defects, sometimes sellers are in-fact well aware and intentionally omit issues, hoping you won’t notice. Sometimes sellers revamp their homes in preparation for putting it on the market, but how long does a facelift last? Unless guided by an experienced South Florida real estate broker such as Tammy Fernandez, it’s easy to miss these red flags during a home inspection. It’s no secret that few purchases come with as much pressure as buying a home, therefore, to save yourself time, money, and a whole lot of hassle, read on to learn how to conduct a pre- inspection prior to making any offers or hiring a professional inspector.
Red Flag #1: One Too Many Homes For Sale
You can change the house…but you can’t change the neighborhood. If the neighborhood seems to be on the decline, you should certainly rethink your purchase, as it comes time to sell, you will most likely have a difficult time doing so. Take a look around and inquire about other houses that have ‘For Sale’ signs up. Is it simply the neighborhood is quickly gentrifying and residents are cashing in, or something more foreboding, such as growing crime rate? Do
some digging to figure out the reason for the mass exodus before putting your money on the line.
Red Fag #2: Suspicious Smells
When you walk into the home do you get a hefty whiff of air freshener, floral bouquets, potpourri, or scented candles around every corner? It’s quite possible this is the seller’s attempt to mask a foul odor or defect.
How about fresh paint? Obviously not all freshly coated walls indicate an issue, however, if you notice the smell in one particular spot, that fresh coat could possibly be covering ceiling stains or water damage.
Another not so obvious odor to beware of is mold. Although most molds that grow in homes are not of the toxic variety, the wrong kind can wreak havoc on your home and health. Thoroughly check beneath sinks, in basements, crawl spaces, and around windows for any type of mold spores.
Lastly, a sewage smell – this extremely foul odor could mean a poorly maintained septic system or a backed-up drain somewhere in the home just waiting to burst.
Red Flag #3: Insect or Pest Infestation
Pest problems typically aren’t the first thing home-buyers look for when inspecting a home, but definitely something to be on the lookout for before signing on the dotted line. Pests are usually lurking beneath the surface, but warning signs are often in plain sight. Keep an eye out for live or dead insects, openings or gaps on the exterior of the home, droppings, scratching noises, and gnawed wiring. Specifically search in open cabinets, pantries, and behind appliances for any of these signs.
Red Flag #4: Sagging Roof
Unless a newly built home, every roof will have some wear and tear to some degree and will need repair sooner or later. The question is, “How old?” At what point should you decide
to walk away? Danger signals of a failing roof: 1) The actual structure of the roof is damaged 2) There are patches of missing shingles or algae overgrowth 3) Stains on interior walls and excessive water damage.
Red Flag #5: Finicky Electrical System
You’ll often times find that older homes have out-dated wiring and electrical panels, which can cause significant issues with the electrical system. A few ways to inspect the home are by simply turning on light switches, checking for flickering lights, and checking outlets. Be sure the wires, conduits, and boxes are securely fixed to the building with no visible signs of damage or deterioration. Additionally, be sure to note whether an older home is conducive to today’s technology.
Red Flag #6: Foundation Issues
Considered one of the most costly, stressful, and time- consuming repairs to a home is correcting the foundation. How do you know if a home has structural issues? Start by looking for horizontal cracks in the foundation itself. Other signs include misaligned windows, doorframes that have difficulty closing, sunken porches or stairs, sloping floors or cracked tiles, and cracks in the drywall.
Red Flag #7: Plumbing
Brown or yellow water in the tub, bad-tasting water, low water pressure, discoloration or stains, exposed pipes with flaking, water backup – all indicators that there’s a need for water pipe replacement, which can tack on a few thousand dollars onto your home repair bill.
Red Flag #8: DIY Projects
Be sure to look out for sellers who have made a hobby of DIY home improvements. More times than not, they are not qualified to construct additions without oversight, and they could very well have structural, wiring, and/or plumbing
defects. If the seller informs you of any major repairs or additions, ask for proof of warranty or an invoice to confirm.
Although these major red flags can be turn-offs for homebuyers, they do not necessarily mean you shouldn’t buy the home, but rather use this knowledge to negotiate the terms of the sale of the home. Whether something needs to be replaced prior to move-in, or requesting a lower sales price, negotiation is the first step before calling it quits. Partnering up with an experienced and knowledgeable real estate agent when searching for your dream home can make the process a breeze. Tammy Hernandez Realty is dedicated to providing you with an incredible buying and selling experience that leaves you feeling confident in your decision-making.