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Watch for These Red Flags When Shopping for a New Home

Edie Israel

After years of executive sales and marketing experience as well as entrepreneurial success, Edie entered into the real estate market of Southern Calif...

After years of executive sales and marketing experience as well as entrepreneurial success, Edie entered into the real estate market of Southern Calif...

Oct 24 4 minutes read

When searching for a new house, home buyers have dozens of factors to consider. Although you may be focused on school districts and neighborhood amenities, it's important to keep your eyes peeled for red flags. Real estate professionals know that certain factors commonly result in unexpected repairs and other problems that can cost you money. Read on for some of the most common warning signs of trouble you may encounter in your search for a new home.

Poor Home Maintenance

Naturally, you can expect any pre-owned home to show signs of normal wear and tear. But it is also reasonable to expect that sellers have maintained their home or perhaps even upgraded some features prior to listing the house. When previous owners have deferred necessary maintenance and repairs, however, this should throw up a big, red flag. If a home appears to have been poorly maintained, even superficially, home buyers should beware. Serious hidden or latent problems may not be obvious to the untrained eye. A professional home inspection can provide a more complete picture of the home's true condition and identify those repairs that may need to be done in the near future.

Irregular Site Grading

If you notice the yard's grading slopes toward the house rather than away from it, serious issues with erosion or flooding may be present. In addition, foundation damage may already have occurred. During a heavy rainfall, water can pool quickly. Unless the lot's grade carries it away from the house, the water permeates the ground and degrades the home's support structures. Although views and interior finishes are important, take a moment also to walk the yard as well. Look for erosion, unexplained patches of moss, mold, wet ground and any visible cracks.

Unexplained Foul Odors

Sellers naturally attempt to make sure their home has an appealing aroma for potential buyers, so different types of deodorizers can be used to mask smells that may be unappealing. Pay close attention to any underlying odors in the home, however, because these may signify a hidden problem. If you notice more than pet smells or last night's fish dinner, especially any musty, mildew-like smells or sewage odors, consider it a major red flag. Natural gas odors are also a big warning sign that a serious problem exists with the home.

Major Repairs to Only One Wall

Repainting walls to make them appear cleaner, brighter and more appealing is to be expected. The sellers are trying to present their home at its best, after all. But while a fresh coat of paint itself is not a red flag, take special note if the new paint is only on one wall. If the newly painted area appears to have been recently patched, textured or repaired, this may indicate a structural problem. If you decide to move forward with the house, ask the home inspector to pay close attention to the repair.

Pests and Rodents

As you tour any home, keep an eye out for telltale signs of pests and rodents. Even if you don't see any actual bugs or mice on your tour, look for bug spray, mousetraps or other pest control-related items that indicate an issue with pests.

Buying a home can be an exhausting process, especially with the dozens of details you must remember. If you plan to purchase a home in the Yorba Linda area, don't go it alone. The professional Realtors® of the Edie Israel Team can help keep an eye out for potential problems as they assist you in your new home search.

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