Prospective home buyers sometimes allow their eagerness to purchase a residence to blind them to signs of current or future repair issues. Contending with steep contractor bills shortly after making a big purchase sours the joy of real estate ownership very quickly. To avoid experiencing this heartbreak, it makes sense to remain observant and as impartial as possible during your search for a suitable property.
Four Potential "Red Flags"
Signs of looming real estate problems sometimes even escape the attention of seasoned industry professionals. While over the course of time a property will often increase in value, no one can guarantee an individual purchasing decision won't actually result in financial losses. With the average price of a family home spiraling upwards in the United States, mistakes in property acquisition sometimes translate into thousands (or even tens of thousands) of dollars in losses.
As you search for residential real estate, pay close attention to several "red flags." They could indicate underlying serious ongoing problems requiring repair attention:
One: Long Cracks in Walls
When a building sustains structural or foundation problems, repair bills can prove costly indeed. While some cracks do occur in some building materials due to normal "settling", proceed with caution if you observe this red flag. It sometimes indicates potentially expensive stability issues. Sometimes sellers seek to reduce the visible impact of cracks in walls by using copious amounts of paint or wallpaper. However, if they look closely at the property, buyers will still notice this defect: it remains visible underneath surface coverings.
Two: Discolored or Malodorous Tap Water
Malodorous or discolored tap water in some cases indicates infrastructure problems involving residential plumbing. Even high quality pipes eventually begin corroding and wearing out. Replacing them usually proves expensive. If you notice this issue while searching for a home, it often helps to review reports concerning local water sources. The problem could relate to the water provider's pipes. However, if it stems from corroding pipes on the property, anticipate repair expenses in the future.
Three: Water Staining
Signs of visible staining on the ceiling or walls sometimes indicate a leaky roof, which may result in expensive repair bills. Ask for information about any recent roof repairs. In some cases, sellers have repaired roof problems but simply failed to repaint. (If you notice recent painting in a previously owned home, it makes sense to inquire carefully about the condition of the roof.)
Four: Sloping or Sagging Floors
Does a floor appear unusually angled, or even slightly bouncy as you walk over it? Proceed carefully as a home buyer. A sagging or sloping floor could indicate a number of potential problems in the dwelling. Floors sometimes slope due to structural issues involving the building's frame. Another reason for this condition may relate to unseen damage caused by wet conditions beneath the floor at some time. Water causes wood to warp. It may distort the shape of beams supporting subflooring, for instance. Additionally, termite damage may cause sagging floor problems.
A Rewarding Experience
Purchasing a home provides a way to gain an important real estate asset. By exercising good judgment and relying upon capable and reputable real estate industry professionals, you'll avoid many disappointments during your search. It usually makes sense to request assistance from a qualified residential property inspection service before closing a real estate purchase transaction. You'll receive a report detailing the condition of every major system in the home, plus an assessment of the need for anticipated repairs.