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Eight Problems to Avoid When Looking for a New Home

By Guest Author | February 25, 2012

Sellers seldom disclose the whole truth about their homes to potential homebuyers. This is especially true in today’s market, when sellers are in dire need to sell their home quickly.

Keep 'em peeled whenever you enter a new home. Courtesy antiguan_life

Whilst it may not be financially possible for you to hire a home inspector for each home you’re considering purchasing, there are specific steps you can take to help spot any existing problems on your own and ensure the home is in excellent condition.

1. Mass Exodus in the Neighborhood:
Never assume that the home you are considering purchasing is perfect just because of its appearance. Do a thorough investigation and check out the entire neighborhood. Take the time to chat with the other neighbors in the area and ask questions. If there are a number of other homes for sale in the neighborhood, there may be a reason for it.

2. Poor Upkeep:
Look for signs that the current owners inhabiting the home may not be keeping up with the maintenance of it. Some signs of negligence include an unkempt lawn, gutters full of debris, woodwork in need of repair and peeling paint.

Never a good sign... Courtesy melinnis

3. Damage to the Foundations:
It’s important to inspect the front yard and driveway area and to check if it slopes toward the house. If it does, this could present a hazard and result in water seeping into the foundation walls and the basement area. Both problems can be costly to repair, so carefully inspect the foundation thoroughly for any signs of buckling or cracking.

4. Foul Odors
Be conscious of the smells inside and outside of the dwelling. If you notice any noxious odors, this could be a sign of a serious problem with the home, or the land it sits on. Also, if you notice an overpowering scent of air freshener, this could be the sellers trying to mask an issue.

5. Archaic or Malfunctioning Wiring:
Even though you may not be a licensed electrician, take the time to walk through the home and check the switches and outlets. See if they are in working condition, if the switch plates or outlets are warm to the touch and if any of the lights are flickering. If any of these issues occur, this could be signs of wiring problems.

Avoid any nasty shocks in the future... Image courtesy Velo Steve

6. New Coat of Paint to One Wall:
A fresh coat of paint can definitely give the home a neat appearance, but it can also indicate the sellers may be hiding a larger problem like damage due to water, mildew or mold. Take a look around to see if there are any water stains or sagging walls or ceilings. If you notice anything suspicious, have a professional home inspector do a thorough investigation.

7. Barricaded Areas or Locked Doors:
When walking through a home that you’re seriously considering purchasing, the sellers should never have any areas that are locked or barricaded from entering. If there are restricted areas, ask the sellers the reasoning and if you are still interested in the home, make an appointment to see those areas another time. It’s still important that you see the entire home before you decide to buy it.

If it's locked up, there might very well be something the owner doesn't want you to see... Image courtesy documentarist

8. Structural Renovations:
While you may love the current layout of the home, make sure to ask questions and see if the dwelling has had any major renovations. If a floor or structural wall has been removed, there may not have been any other adjustments made to ensure the home is sound. This could shift the weight to other areas and repairs to fix the problem could be costly. Secure the services of a structural engineer to check to safety of the home.


About the author

Andrew Potter works for My Online Estate Agent and regularly contributes interesting and insightful articles to the online property arena. My Online Estate Agent is one of the UK’s leading online estate agents and advertises on the leading UK property portals such as Rightmove, Zoopla and Prime Location.

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