Make us your home page
Instagram

Red flags for home buyers

Sellers don't always disclose the whole truth to potential home buyers, especially if they're eager to sell (or "motivated," in real estate lingo). But you can't afford to get a professional inspection of every house you tour. So before you spring for the pro, narrow your choices by doing your own pre-inspection to spot potential problems.

Mass exodus from the neighborhood

Don't let a home's curb appeal keep you from glancing down the street. Are there several other homes for sale? Are nearby businesses boarded up or vandalized? Get the scoop from the neighbors. If everyone else wants to leave the street, maybe you should, too. Just do it before you're stuck with a bad investment.

Mediocre maintenance

Three layers of roofing and gutters with plants growing in them are signs the owners aren't big on maintaining their home. What else did they neglect?

Foundation failures

Check out the yard grading. If the yard slopes toward the house, it could cause water to run down the foundation walls or into the house, which will be costly to repair. Scour the foundation for damage. Bulges or cracks bigger than one-third of an inch can mean the house has serious structural issues.

Bad smells (inside or outside)

Take a big whiff of the air inside and outside the house. Do you smell anything funky? If you can't smell anything but the huge baskets of potpourri all over the house, this could be a red flag.

Faulty or old wiring

While you're probably not an electrician, make sure all the switches and outlets in the house function properly. Flickering lights, circuits that don't work and warm or hot outlets or faceplates are all symptoms of wiring problems.

Fresh paint on one wall

New paint can really spruce up drab walls, but it can also hide bigger problems, like water damage, mildew or mold. If the room smells strange or if you see stains or saggy walls or ceilings, have an inspector look for mold and leaks.

Locked doors and blockades

Ask about any rooms that are "off limits" during your home tour, and arrange to see them later if you're interested in the house.

Foggy or nonfunctioning windows

Check for water in between double-paned windows and make sure all the windows are functional.

Structural walls that have been removed

Sure you love the open floor plan, but was the house always open, or did the homeowners renovate? If they removed a load-bearing wall without adjusting the framing, it can shift weight to other parts of the house. Hire a structural engineer if you think any renovations are questionable.

Bugs! Or rodents!

No one wants a house with a pest problem, be it roaches, rodents or termites. Be on the lookout for unwelcome creatures as you tour the house. Even if no foes pop out while you're there, consider a separate termite inspection if you're thinking of purchasing the property.

Bottom line

Always get a professional inspection when you select a house. Yeah, it's a little expensive, but it's worth every penny. Skipping a home inspection is not a good way to cut home-buying costs. You'll end up paying more in the long run when problems inevitably arise.

Red flags for home buyers 06/08/13 [Last modified: Friday, June 7, 2013 6:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, FrontDoor.com.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Triad Retail Media names Sherry Smith as CEO

    Corporate

    ST. PETERSBURG — Triad Retail Media, a St. Petersburg based digital ads company, announced that Sherry Smith is taking over as CEO. She replaces Roger Berdusco, who is "leaving the company to pursue new opportunities," a Monday release said.

    Triad Retail Media on Monday announced Sherry Smith, currently global chief customer officer at Triad, as its new CEO. Pictured is outgoing Triad CEO Roger Berdusco. | [Courtesy of Triad Retail Media]
  2. Two new condo projects for same street in downtown St. Pete

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — It lacks the panache and name recognition of Beach Drive, but 4th Avenue N in downtown St. Petersburg is becoming a condo row in its own right.

    Bezu, a condo project planned at 100 4th Ave. N in downtown St. Petersburg, will have 24 units including a three-level penthouse with infinity pool.
[Courtesy of Clear ph Design]
  3. AAA expects gas prices in Tampa Bay will continue to fall

    Autos

    Ticking slowly and steadily, regular gas prices have receded for the last 10 consecutive days. The average unleaded gas price in Florida is $2.67 this morning, a nickel cheaper than a week ago. In Tampa Bay, the current average unleaded gas has dropped 7 cents from a week ago to $2.62. The national average for regular …

    Gas prices for regular gas continue to decline. In Tampa Bay, the current average unleaded gas is down 7 cents from a week ago at $2.62 a gallon. [Times file photo]
  4. Kiran and Pallavi Patel commit $200 million for Clearwater medical school

    Real Estate

    CLEARWATER — Tampa Bay philanthropists Dr. Kiran Patel and his wife, Dr. Pallavi Patel are spending $200 million to create and promote a Tampa Bay regional campus for the private Nova Southeastern University.

    Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel, prolific Tampa Bay philanthropists, are putting up $200 million to create and run a new medical school under Nova Southeastern University. Here is a rendering of the proposed campus [Courtesy of Southestern Noval University}
  5. USF to rename sports management program for Vinik family

    Blogs

    The University of South Florida will name a business program for the Vinik family at a Tuesday event.

    Tampa Bay Lightning owner and chairman Jeff Vinik and his wife, Penny, in 2010.