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Real Estate Red Flags: What to Watch Out for if Your Family Is Moving

The unfortunate truth about house hunting is that the sellers aren’t always extremely honest. They won’t tell potential homebuyers specific things in fear that they would cause them not to make the purchase.

Because of this, it’s so important as a homebuyer to be aware of specific red flags. HGTV says to look out for poor maintenance. If the gutters have plants growing out of them and the roof is missing shingles, there’s a good chance that the current owner isn’t properly maintaining their home. Even if you think those are easy things to fix, you shouldn’t have to worry about spending a ton of money to repair someone else’s mistakes.

You should also keep an eye out for foundation failures. If the yard is sloping toward the house, water could run down the walls of the foundation and into your basement. This may eventually lead to costly and time-consuming repairs. Walk around the entire house and look at the foundation. If you notice any major cracks or bulges, the home may have some serious problems with the structure. Plan on looking at homes during the warmer months as it’ll be easier to spot these types of problems. Most Americans actually choose to move in the summer. In fact, in 2016, 13.9% of moves occurred in June. Only 33% moved in December.

When looking outside at the foundation, Better Homes and Garden suggests taking a look at the home’s cooling system. If you notice that the system is older and failing, it’s going to need some costly maintenance or even a replacement. Failing systems can emit carbon monoxide fumes into your home, which are extremely dangerous for you and your family. Older systems tend to have higher cooling costs, too. So if you’re not prepared to shell out the extra dough, move on to the next home.

The Rochester Real Estate Blog says you should look out for pests and insect problems. Pests like termites can eat through the home’s foundation and everything inside, causing major damage. Walk around the home and take a look for holes in the walls and door frames. They may be easy to miss, but missing them could lead to more serious problems down the road.

Good and bad smells can be a red flag when you’re looking at homes, too. Of course if there’s a foul odor you’re going to either get out of there immediately or try to figure out what it is. But if there’s a candle lit in every room or air fresheners plugged into most outlets, you might want to ask about that. Chances are the homeowner or realtor is trying to cover something up. The homeowner might genuinely love the smell of candles and isn’t hiding anything, but it’s best just to ask.

While you’re inside the home, take a peek at the window situation. If the windows are newer and in good condition, you likely won’t have to make many repairs for some time. But single-pane glass windows, which are present in most homes built before the mid-1990s, are hugely energy inefficient. They also allow heating and cooling dollars to fly out the window and noise to cascade in. While you may love the look of an older home, if the windows are outdated, it’s going to cost you.

When many people look for homes, they’re only thinking about the good things. For example, they might like the idea that the home has a hot tub (more than 7.3 million hot tubs are in operation in the United States), but neglect the holes in the walls. While it may be hard to look into and accept the red flags, it’s important to be aware of them for your safety and the safety of your family.

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