It’s not uncommon for homebuyers to recount horror stories about properties that appeared to be fine at first glance, but were actually hiding very expensive problems. If you fail to do your due diligence, you might find your dream house turning into a nightmare. The next time you walk through a house, pay attention for these five signs that the property might be hiding a unfortounate secret or two.
Mold, Water Spots and Water Damage
Older and newer homes alike may develop a leaky pipe or another similar plumbing issue from time to time, but any type of water issue can result in mold growth inside the walls. Water spots and warped wood indicate that the property has had a water issue in the past, and this means that the property should be more thoroughly inspected for mold growth before you make a purchase.
Doors and Windows That Stick
One of the most common signs of a foundation issue is doors and windows that stick or that are difficult to open and close. As you walk through the home, open and close the doors at leisure to identify if they are not in the frame properly. The issue should be reviewed by a structural home inspector or foundation contractor.
Small Cracks in the Walls
Some cracks in both interior and exterior walls can indicate that the home’s foundation has shifted and is no longer flat and level. Significant issues may be indicated by molding or door frames that appear to have shifted after installation.
Fresh Paint on a Small Area of the Wall
Many property sellers will apply fresh paint to walls before listing a home for sale, and this is not necessarily a sign of damage to the home. However, when fresh paint is applied on one area of the wall alone, this may be a sign that the homeowner is attempting to conceal water damage or other related issues with the property. Further inspection of the property is in order.
Floors That Slant
Any time a floor slants to a level that you feel as though you are walking up or down across the home, this is a significant indicator that the foundation has shifted. Foundation issues result in the movement of the foundation that the entire home rests on, and this can result in an uneven feeling when you walk across the floor. If you notice that the floors in a property slant, you should schedule an inspection of the foundation.
These small signs are symptoms of large problems, and they should concern you. If you notice any of these problems on a walkthrough, walk away from the home and contact a real estate professional for assistance.
Once you have found that perfect home with the right price and every little feature you were hoping for, it’s important to keep in mind that the home has been presented in a way that accentuates its highlights and shadows any flaws. For this reason, it is crucial that you get a home inspection before completing a purchase.
Many sellers also have inspectors investigate the home in order to determine its sale value. As such, they should be aware that a prospective buyer will want to request an independent inspection to verify the findings.
Reasons For Home Inspections
If you are the one purchasing the home, getting an inspection is likely to be the most important investigation you need to perform to ensure you are getting the best value. It can also help to know what reasons each party has for requiring a home inspection.
Buyers, for example, feel peace of mind knowing the home in question is safe. They also gain the ability to negotiate in the event a problem arises from inspection, or they can request repairs first. They can also opt out if the problems that arise are too overwhelming to deal with prior to or after the purchase. Finally, buyers can learn about the kind of maintenance and upkeep will be required for the home in the long run.
Sellers, on the other hand, want to make the transaction as smooth a process as possible to prevent issues that could slow down the sale. They can also learn about any problems they need to repair before putting the house on the market, and they can determine the sale price for the transaction. Lastly, this allows the seller to prove their transparency by having an inspection report available, even though he or she should expect that the buyer should be requesting an independent home inspection regardless.
It should be evident, having an inspection conducted is vital for buyers and sellers alike; though the price might seem costly at first, it is merely a small fee that is well worth the effort to solidify a home purchase.
Finding A Home Inspector
The first thing to keep in mind is that most states lack a licensing process for those who inspect homes. If your state does not have such criteria, finding an inspector in good standing with a nationally recognized organization can help as well.
It is very important not to take a seller’s inspection report at face value, no matter what kind of reputation they may have as a person. You might not even want to accept an inspector that someone else hires since they may have a vested interest that can influence the report.
Keep in mind that a general inspector is not typically licensed to check for specific issues like gas or pests. As such, you will need to either seek someone who is licensed for a full inspection or specificaly request inspection for pests, especially for those in high risk areas. For more information and for additional guidance on the process of buying a house or a condo, contact your real estate agent.