5 Red Flags to Look for When Buying a Home

November 30, 2017

Buying a home is exciting, whether you’re a first-time buyer or working on your third home. It’s easy to get so caught up in the romance of it all that you overlook some red flags that really should be deal-breakers.

When heading out to your next showing, be on the lookout for these five red flags that should send you running for the hills.

1. Foundation Issues

The foundation is one of – if not – the most critical components of a home. Foundation issues are expensive to repair and often not worth the hassle.

Hairline cracks are normal – most houses have them. But if you see large gaps in the foundation, that should be a significant red flag.

Other signs of foundation issues include:

  • Cracks above window frames
  • Sticking windows and doors
  • Uneven floors

A home with serious foundation issues may not be worth taking a second look, just be on the lookout for these warning signs. Repairs can cost anywhere between $500 and $10,000 or more, depending on the severity of the issues.

2. Pools of Water in the Yard

If you notice pools of water in the yard, soggy patches of grass or a sewage smell, the home may have issues with its sewer line.

The sewage systems in older homes are at a much higher risk of becoming damaged or clogged by tree roots. Plumbers can snake a camera through the pipes to look for breaks or blockages, but repairs can cost prohibitive in some cases.

The last thing you want is to have to pay for sewer repair in your home just months after buying it.

Other signs of sewer line issues include:

  • Slow-draining showers
  • Backed-up showers and toilets

When viewing homes, be sure to turn on every faucet and flush every toilet to make sure that the plumbing is up to snuff.

The cost to repair a sewer line can range anywhere between $3,000 and $25,000, depending on the location of the repair.

3. Sticking Windows

Windows are often overlooked by home buyers, but their high replacement costs make them worth checking out.

When touring the house, check to make sure the frames aren’t lopsided. Open and close the windows to make sure that they slide easily. If they stick, it may be a sign of foundation issues or improperly installed windows.

The only fix for poorly-installed windows is replacement – and that is one expensive repair.

4. Old and Outdated Heating and Cooling System

Older homes typically have old heating and cooling systems (if they even have a cooling system). Inefficient systems can run up your utility bills and can also be expensive to repair or replace.

Find out when the furnace was last replaced, and make sure that the system is in good working order.

5. A Wonky Roof

Before you even step inside of the house, take a look at the roof. Does the roof look new, or does it look like it’s caving in? A roof in need of repair may or may not be a deal-breaker, but you should know what you’re getting into beforehand.

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