Top Property Red flags to look for when Buying a Home

House hunting can be overwhelming as there are countless factors to consider. This may distract you from identifying some major setbacks in your ‘dream home’. Such setbacks range to simple things like a door that does not close to major things like location. To make your work easier, here are some major red flags that you should watch out for before you sign those papers.

Structural Issues

That crack that you brush off could cost you heavily. Large cracks on the foundation, in most cases, is a sign of structural problems. For houses with an unfinished basement, simply check if there are any cracks in the foundation. However, for houses with finished basements or no basement, check the door frames in the house. Houses with structural problems have door frames that are not square. The doors are also difficult to close. The surest way of establishing a structural fault is hiring a professional such as a structural engineer. This may seem costly but fixing that structural problem many cost much more.

Fresh Paint

It is quite common for people to paint their houses before placing them on the market. This is an inexpensive way of giving the home a facelift without breaking the bank. However, it is quite unusual to paint one wall or a specific part of the ceiling. This is a major red flag as it indicates the seller may be trying to hide a certain defect such as a water stain. Raise your concerns with the realtor and if the response is satisfactory, you may proceed cautiously.

Do-It-Yourself Repairs

In the age where everyone is trying to be self-sufficient, it is essential to watch out for those amateur home repairs. There are very few homeowners with good workmanship who can handle repairs excellently. Most D-I-Y repairs are a complete flop since most people are unaware of the guiding building codes. Therefore, check keenly on systems such as the plumbing, electrical work and any the carpentry. Other problems such as leaking faucets or missing trim work are also a cause for concern.


The environment around your new home is a critical factor to consider. This is because it is permanent and you have little or no influence in changing it. Watch out for neighbourhoods where there are large numbers of vacant properties. Neighborhoods, where the property values are going down, are also a sure cause for worry. This is because it affects the resale value of your property as well. If the resale value is still fair, observe other trends such as an increasing crime rate, which may affect the value of your property.

Pests and Insects

Pests and insects can be a huge nuisance as they cause the property to deteriorate. While a pest infestation may escape your notice, home inspectors could come in handy. For better clarity, you may request the seller to hire a licensed pest inspector. This will ensure you prevent thousands of dollars repairs caused by pests, especially those that destroy wood. In case it is not possible to hire an inspector, look out for live insects and pests or their droppings.


Stains on the walls, ceilings or floors can indicate more critical problems such as plumbing issues. Water destroys construction materials and could cause rotting on wood members used to hold the structure. A stain from a roof leak could cause a saggy ceiling, which is very expensive to repair. Stains are a huge red flag and are an indicator of something that will cost you a lot to repair.

Strong Air Fresheners

When the seller tends to overdo certain things, it raises suspicion. For example, when you have a viewing and every room is filled with essential oils, the seller is probably trying to mask a certain smell. Smells such as pet urine in the carpet or mold beneath the sink are easy to hide using a strong air freshener. On the other hand, some homeowners are used to certain foul smells in their homes. This is an obvious red flag and if the problem cannot be fixed easily, it is best to stop the purchase.

Time on the Market

Good properties often move fast in the market. Therefore, it is a clear red flag when a property has stayed in the market for months or years. According to Zillow, a real estate guru, a property takes about 68 days from time of listing to closing. However, this may change depending on your community. A real estate agent around you can provide such information efficiently. The more a property stays on sale, the higher the chances of underlying problems.

Final Thoughts

Buying a house is no easy task and you may benefit tremendously from the services of a home inspector. From an untrained person’s perspective, a huge number of red flags may go unnoticed. This will lead to a poor purchase that will cause a fortune to repair. Neighborhoods require thorough physical viewing .Websites like Movoto offer options for both virtual and in-person house tours.



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Hi, I'm Dale. Some of the things I like to do are box, lift weights, and spend time with my beautiful wife Crystal. I also enjoy watching shows on Netflix or playing video games with my son when I can find some free time.

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