Taking tours through homes that may someday be yours can be a lot of fun. But, it's important that you're actually paying attention to the house to see if there are any red flags to signal there may be something wrong. If you're new to house hunting, then you might not know what to look for when viewing a house. Here are six red flags you could encounter in any home and what they could mean:
1. Doors That Don't Close
The first thing you might notice is that some of the doors in the house have trouble opening and closing. While this may seem like a little thing, it could be the result of a big problem. Doors struggling to function properly are an indicator that the framing around the door has shifted, resulting in it being out of square. This means that the building is having a shifting issue, which is not something that would be easy to fix, and it could lead to further issues in the future.
2. DIY Additions and Repairs
With how expensive renovations and repairs can be, and with how easy information is to access online, more and more homeowners are doing repairs and renovations themselves. While some homeowners are definitely capable of doing a good job, not everyone will have the knowledge or skills required to create additions or repairs that are stable. Even worse, there's always the chance that any additions made wouldn't meet building codes and could have structural, wiring, or plumbing defects.
3. Random Fresh Paint
It's common for homeowners to put on a new coat of paint when selling their home, and this in itself isn't a red flag. However, it is suspicious when there's new paint on only one wall in a room, or if only parts of a wall have new paint. This could easily indicate that the owner is trying to cover up a problem, such as water stains.
4. Many Houses for Sale in the Neighbourhood
While one or two homes for sale in a neighbourhood is normal, it's much less normal if you're looking around and see a whole lot of homes for sale. This is a sign that there's something wrong with the neighbourhood, as plenty of people are trying to leave. This could be anything from an increased crime rate to a proposed landfill nearby. Always do your research on the neighbourhood before buying a house.
5. Odours and Air Freshener
If you walk into a home and immediately notice bad smells, then that's a clear sign that there's something wrong with the home. However, it's just as much of a red flag to immediately notice pleasant smells. If you're walking around and find incense, candles, and air fresheners in many or all of the rooms, it may be an indication that the homeowner is trying to mask some other smell in the home. Homes, in general, should have a neutral scent to them, and you should question anything else.
6. Cracks, Stains, and Sagging
This is where things get a little more obvious. Here are some visual cues you should always look for to show a problem with the house:
- Cracks in the walls or foundations
- Water stains on the walls or ceiling
- Sagging in the floors or ceilings
These problems won't necessarily be deal-breakers, but the homeowner should be upfront about these issues and where they're stemming from. If the homeowner seems like they're trying to hide anything, that is a real red flag.
Looking for all these red flags on your own can be tiring and time-consuming, which is why you should hire a real estate agent to help with your search. With their experience, they'll know what to check when buying a house and can advise you if anything seems off. With these tips and a professional on your side, you'll be sure to get a great home for your future!