Top 8 Signs You Shouldn’t Buy That House: How to Quickly Recognize a Money Pit

by Robert SummersMay 26, 2015

Buying a Home? Not So Fast

If you live in a hot housing market where desirable properties tend to be snapped up nearly as soon as they’re offered, then you may feel pressured to seal the deal immediately if and when you find a home you really like. But smart homebuyers do their due diligence before committing to a mortgage. Here are some warning signs that the home you’re considering purchasing may not be as good a deal as it seems.

A Shoddy Roof

Your home’s roof is your main line of defense against the elements. A poorly maintained or leaky roof can spell serious trouble down the road. Leaks can cause water damage, and not just to your possessions, but to your home as well. Cracked or missing shingles are an obvious red flag, but it’s not a bad idea to have a professional roofer perform an in-depth inspection, even if the roof appears to be in good repair. That way, you’ll be able to rest easy, knowing your new home’s roof is up to snuff.
Damaged-Roof-Shingles-Repair

Bad Plumbing

If you’re considering purchasing a historic home, there’s a good possibility that the home’s plumbing is as old as the house itself. Older homes are certainly charming, but outdated plumbing systems? Not so much. Check the sinks, toilets, showers, and tubs for good drainage and adequate water pressure. Find out if the home has a septic tank, and if so, how old it is.

Have a look at the water heater. If it’s outdated, it may be set to reach the end of its useful life. An old water heater or faulty toilet isn’t necessarily a no-go, but it’s good to know what you’re getting yourself into. This is another situation where it may be a good idea to enlist the services of a trained professional.

Zoning Restrictions

If you’re considering adding a spare bedroom or guesthouse after you’ve purchased your new home, make sure the property is zoned to allow the additions you’re interested in making. The last thing you want to do is find out too late that you can’t legally complete the process of turning your newly purchased house into the dream home you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

Outdated Wiring in the Home

Homes have had electricity for a long time now, but the wiring systems we now use are much safer than the old-fashioned wiring that’s often found in many older homes. If your new home still has cloth-wrapped wiring and an old-style fuse box, there’s a h3 possibility that you’ll need to have your home rewired, and that can cost as much as $20k. If you’re still convinced that this is the only home for you, then you may be able to use the outdated electrical as leverage for a price reduction.

Homes With Foundation Issues

Foundation issues can spell serious trouble for homeowners. A poor foundation may allow water to leak into the basement, resulting in mold infestations or costly repair bills. Be sure to have a thorough look at the foundation. Cracks wider than the width of your pinky nail are a big red flag. You should also check hard surface floors for cracks, and make sure the drywall is free of cracks as well, especially in corners and around windowsills.
Cracked-Wall

Water Damage

Water damage repairs can be among the most costly repairs to make. Inspect caulking around sinks and toilets very carefully. Check the home’s window seals for signs of leakage. Look for stains on ceilings, especially in the parts of the basement located beneath the kitchen and bathroom. If you see signs of water damage, you’ll definitely want to get a second opinion before making the purchase.

Scope Out the Neighborhood

The people who live in neighboring homes can be a valuable source of information. They may be able to tell you about recent repairs, and they’ll definitely be able to give you a better sense of what life is like in the neighborhood itself. If most of the homes in the neighborhood are up for sale, it may be a sign that the area is not as desirable as the listing made it sound, and that could negatively affect your property value.

Owner Won’t Allow Inspection

Getting a home inspection is an absolute must whenever you’re purchasing a new home. If the seller seems to be trying to dissuade you from conducting an inspection, or refuses to cooperate with an inspector of your choosing, consider it a h3 indication that they’re not being entirely truthful about the home’s condition.

Know What You’re Getting Into

Any of these warning signs can be a deal-breaker, but if you’re in love with the home, you may be willing to deal with certain issues. The most important thing is that you find out exactly what you’re getting yourself into, so you can set your bid accordingly.

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Robert Summers
5 Comments
  • Kim Philpott
    May 18, 2016 at 8:07 am

    Home inspectors are not really any guarantee that the home you are buying is in sound condition. They limit their liability to a maximum of the fee you pay them. That would likely be about $1000. Any critical oversight would cost many times that amount. Before you place your confidence in them remember they only have $1000 worth of confidence in themselves.

  • December 8, 2016 at 1:23 am

    If there are cracks in the walls near doorways/windows, it’s a good idea to have a structural engineer check the home out. Not all cracks are a sign of foundation issues. Sometimes they’re just normal settling cracks or flaws in the drywall installation. It’s good to know the difference before moving forward. Also check out the trees surrounding the home! Know which ones have damaging root systems and note how close they are to the foundation. Many older neighborhoods where trees were planted decades ago are just now seeing the damage caused by mature trees. Note also if trees have been cut and if there are stumps. Where the roots killed? These are just a few things that come to mind after reading this article. Great tips and information!

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