The minute you decide you’re ready to purchase your first home, it’s okay to be excited. You deserve to feel the elation that comes with the idea of finally being able to invest in a tangible asset that’s most likely to appreciate over time. Relish the feeling.
However, once you’re in the actual process of house hunting, you must be as levelheaded as possible. Your emotions should not get in the way. You should approach the task with keen attention to detail. Otherwise, you might end up with a regrettable property.
To help you make the best decision, refer to this list. Here we have the most common red flags home buyers should steer clear of.
Old or faulty wiring
You cannot cut corners when it comes to electrical wiring. Faulty wiring is a serious hazard. Stay away from properties with old wiring. You’ll have to replace them soon, and that’s not cost-efficient. Ideally, before you purchase a home, you get the expert advice of an EICR assesor.
Asbestos is most prevalent in old homes, such as those built before the 1980s. And it poses serious health risks to humans and even pets. It’s been linked to certain types of cancer. So ask about the house’s history before signing the deal. Know for sure that there’s zero asbestos in any of its components. Keep in mind that asbestos becomes small fibers over time. They get released in the air and once you inhale them you’re in trouble.
Mold smells musty. Plus, they’re bad for people with respiratory problems or allergies. They will worsen the symptoms of those medical conditions, resulting in chronic discomfort. When house hunting, look for signs of mold and mildew buildup. They normally appear in rooms where there’s high humidity. Check bathrooms and the basement, for example. Sure, you can easily remove mold and mildew. But do you really want your first home to be moldy?
Bugs and rodents
You do not want to live with rats or cockroaches. So check all the nooks and cranny of a house for traces of bug and rodent infestations. Do not just rely on your sense of sight. Sometimes sellers and agents will try to hide those problems from buyers. Use your sense of smell too. Do not shy away from sniffing cabinets and closets. Your goal is to ensure you won’t be welcomed by unwelcome housemates once you move in.
The minute you walk out of your car and into a listed property’s yard, get your sense of smell running. Keep your olfactory nerves working while exploring the house. Be wary of smells that should not be there.
This is one of the first things you need to look into. If you see one-third-inch cracks or bigger, say no to the property. The same goes for when you see obvious bulges on walls. These things mean foundational problems. And they will be costly to repair.
Even if you’re working on a budget, do not settle with a poorly maintained property. Sure, you can always flip it. But that might take more money from you in the end. Plus, it’ll require you to invest time. So check the gutters if they’re working. Look at the roof if it still does its job.
You do not want to live in a neighborhood whose previous occupants have abandoned and whose remaining dwellers are in the process of leaving too. That means there’s something wrong with the area. Maybe the crime rate there is too high. Or there are no good schools around. There could be many reasons, and they’re all red flags to avoid.
Once you see any of these red flags, don’t hesitate to say no to your agent and the seller. You cannot afford to be polite in this situation. Remember your finances are on the line. You do not want to pay for a property that does not meet your criteria for what makes a livable home. You want to end up with the best deal available to you.
For that to happen, don’t rush the process. Take your time if that’s what’s needed for you to exhaust all possibilities. Do not get swayed by the first properties presented to you. Do not hesitate to ask your agent for more options. They are working on a commission, and they wouldn’t mind showing you as many listings as you would prefer. If a property’s for you, you will know. Your gut will tell you so.