04 Jan Open House Red Flags
The process of buying a home often invites both stress and excitement at the same time. The anticipation of making a new house your own, combined with the concern over potential unseen problems results in anxiety and makes you second guess your decision.
For your own piece of mind, it remains important to look out for and recognized red flags indicating larger problems before getting to the costly inspection phase.
Before even stepping inside the house, stop to examine the exterior. Arguably the most important part of a house besides the foundation, the roof protects everything beneath and exists as a strong indicator of the property’s level of maintenance.. Worn, loose or missing shingles usually signifies that water breached the attic or crawl space.
Also look for areas that sag, a good sign of previous damage. While more difficult to see, the visible portions of the home’s foundation sometimes hint at deeper issues. A crack running along the block or concrete could extend below the ground and widen with time.
Once inside, ignore the paint and décor. Look past what the owner wants you to see — especially areas you plan to change anyway. Instead, focus on more important items, such as the electrical, plumbing and heating and cooling systems. These systems cost the most to repair and replace. When inspecting the kitchen, after admiring the stainless steel touch-on faucet, look under the sink to examine the pipes. If one system shows neglect, others need checking.. Ask to see the water heater and visually check its age and condition.
Don’t be afraid to turn things on and off either. Make it a game to see if you can find every light switch. Bring along your phone charger and randomly plug into different outlets to check if they are working. Ask to turn the thermostat up or down and feel if the vent registers emitt the appropriate temperature, or if they work at all.
While examining these systems, be on the lookout for warped or uneven flooring and mildew smells — which indicate possible water damage. Darkened areas on walls or ceilings also signify a potential leak.
The most important part of an open house — take your time and look at everything. If something catches your eye, investigate further. Only after feeling comfortable that the home fits your criteria should you contact a licensed home inspector.