When To Walk Away: 5 House-Hunting Red Flags

real estateTouring homes for sale is all about taking in the details. While a Zillow report found that 48% of buyers look for homes that have never been lived in, that is not always realistic. So, when you are touring a potential home, it is important to keep an eye out for problematic features. The following are some of the most common red flags that should make you consider other options.

  1. Significant Maintenance Needs: When looking at real estate, it is generally expected that there will be some maintenance required after purchase. But it’s important to be realistic. If you start making a long list of projects in your head while you are touring, it may be more costly than its worth.
  2. Strange Smells: Trust your senses when looking at a home for sale. If there is a foul smell, either inside or outside, that you just can’t shake, there may be an underlying problem. When in doubt, ask the home seller about the smell — or move on to the next home.
  3. Other Houses For Sale: If you drive down the street and notice multiple homes for sale, this should raise concern. There could be a reason that so many people are moving out of the neighborhood at once. Ask your realtor to be sure, since there could be a simple explanation for it.
  4. Patch Jobs: Do you notice just one wall that is painted or boards that are nailed to the wall? These could be there to cover water damage or other types of damage. Ask the owners about any hidden damage or request an inspection before you sign for the home.
  5. Dysfunctional Windows: Does the home feel uncomfortably cold during the winter? Check for window drafts while you walk around the home. Also look for any condensation or fog on the windows. All of these signs point to faulty windows, so decide whether you are willing to invest in replacing them.

During the home buying process, you may fall victim to impulses. But even if you’re excited about buying a house, it is important to slow down and consider all of its flaws. Talk to your real estate agent about what sacrifices are worth it, and more importantly, which are not.