Houses are sold all day every day in the United States. It’s a multifaceted marketplace that evolves with the economy in constant fluctuation. Buying a house is a large scale transaction that many Americans strive for throughout their entire life. Due to the amount of effort that goes into buying a house, it’s critical for people to make a calculated decision when they’re in the midst of choosing a property. Part of a well thought out decision is making sure that any prospective home has all of the features that the potential homeowner is looking for. Even further, the desired features need to be well maintained and extremely high quality.
If you are looking for a house, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for issues that could spell trouble down the road. Below I list certain property red flags that will help catch your attention when you’re visiting open houses. You should consider avoiding the purchase of real estate with these issues, as your situation could be drastically different than you anticipated.
1. A sketchy neighborhood
Location means a lot when it comes to spending money on the order of $100,000. For one, you will physically be in the location whenever you are at home. You should enjoy your neighborhood and it should be close to both your work and your children’s schools (if you have them). It should also be a safe neighborhood with a low crime rate. When everything is analyzed, safety is a huge priority when it comes to buying real estate. You don’t want to be in a place where danger will be even remotely possible.
Why it’s a red flag: A sketchy neighborhood is not something you want to pay for as a homeowner. Not only will your quality of life be different in a below par location, but your house will appreciate at a much lower rate when the market is concerned. It’s crucial to take note of the specific area your prospective house falls within. A great physical structure is less ideal when you have to settle for an average or unsafe community.
2. Poorly maintained vital features
There are certain parts of a house that can be considered vital to the property as a whole. If any of these appear to be poorly maintained, major red flags should be raised. Some specific features to assess carefully:
- The roof: The roof is one of the most important features of a home. Not only does it provide shelter over your head, it protects the rest of the building. If the roof of the house has worn shingles or you notice any water damage along the ceilings in the home, make a note of it. Even further, it’s worth asking the owner if you can look in the attic to check for any structural water damage. This type of issue can really compromise overall value and functionality of a house.
- The landscape: The landscape for the sake of this argument is the remainder of the lot that the house doesn’t cover. If the yard or the lot itself doesn’t appear to be well maintained, issues could be present that deserve your immediate attention. Whether it’s poorly organized trees that seem to be impeding the sewer line or simply a yard that looks like it’s going to require a large-scale renovation, it’s a red flag. Landscaping is more costly than most people realize.
- Floor materials: Whether it’s carpet, tile or another material, the floor in any prospective house is a feature to focus your attention on. Are there major stains on the marble floor in the kitchen? What about frayed carpet on the stairway? These are surely fixable issues, but when you’re paying so much money for the property these are not expenses you’ll desire down the road. Pay particular attention to the entrance ways and the area where the current tenant’s dining room table is.
Why these features are red flags: Not only are these areas of a house critical to your quality of life, they also tend to be a burden financially when they are not adequately maintained. When you’re dropping such serious money on a home, it’s imperative that these specific features are far above average and well cared for.
3. A gut feeling that tells you otherwise
While buying a house is clearly a tangible process that requires extensive time and resources, it also demands mental assurance. It’s a big deal and your mind knows it. If you are looking at an open house and everything seems picture perfect, except for your gut feeling, you need to reconsider.
Regardless of how ideal a property is feature-wise, you have to be certain that you want to wake up and go to sleep there each and every night. If it doesn’t feel right, it most likely isn’t, and you have a right to express your concern.
Why it’s a red flag: You need to love the house that you decide on and sometimes it can be difficult to turn one down if the price is right and the features align with your goals. It takes a mature person to walk away because something doesn’t feel right, but with real estate being such a massive purchase, you won’t regret it. Take your time and make sure you feel comfortable enough to move forward on a sale. If you don’t, it’s a red flag.
Buying a house is a process that will be unique to your individual situation. It’s your job as someone searching for a home to take everything into account, and try to find your dream residence. These explained red flags are meant to help you decipher the true value of the house you’re zeroing in on.
Naomi Broderick is a professional writer who’s secure in her abilities and even more confident in her parenting. When she’s not juggling her three children in the front yard she writes for ProtectYourHome.com, a leader in home alarms.