Shopping for homes can leave your mind spinning. Knowing what to look for can help you weed out the properties with serious structural damage or maintenance problems. If you're looking for a turn-key property and a smooth buying experience, watch for these warning signs when going to home showings.
Deferred maintenance can take many forms. A drippy faucet, cracked window, or a puncture hole in the wall are all signs that a homeowner has been neglecting their maintenance duties. While these problems may seem small, they can be a sign of larger poor maintenance practices.
Homeowners often fix up their home before putting it on the market. Those that neglect to do this may have other poor maintenance practices that could lead to much bigger, more expensive problems down the road.
Signs of Pest Infestation
Pest infestation can be difficult to eliminate, and intensely frustrating. Signs of pest infestation include:
- Pest feces under the sink and in cabinets
- Dead insects in the light fixtures
- Small holes chewed in the walls
- Insect sightings
- Mouse traps
Home buyers who don't want to deal with these problems should either move on to another property or negotiate pest remediation services during the escrow process. The real estate professional can help the buyer decide what's best in these circumstances.
Over many years, pets can do a lot of damage to a home. If pet damage is visible during the showing, there's a good chance there's more damage lurking under the surface.
For example, pet urine can stain hardwood floors. In a home that is carpeted with hardwood floors underneath, these stains would not be visible. If the home buyer wishes to remove the carpet and reveal the hardwood floors, any stains will need to be repaired.
Home buyers hoping to avoid this kind of damage should look for:
- Pet scratches on the floors, walls or furniture
- Pet odors in the air
- Damage to carpeting
Ceiling Stains and Water Damage
Water, whether from a plumbing leak or a roof leak, often leaves evidence of the leak on the walls and ceilings of a home. These stains are usually brown, and may come with bulging paint or rippled dry wall. Water damage can also be seen under the sink, where long-time drips can leave the cabinets damaged. Sometimes this type of damage is leftover from old leaks, but sometimes this damage is evidence of a current, ongoing leak.
Strange odors in a home can come from many sources. In homes that have been shut up for a long time, strange odors may develop naturally. If the homeowner is a smoker, the home may smell for a long time after the buyer has sold the house. If the strange odors come from a mold problem, this could have serious ramifications for anyone who buys the house. Either way, strange odors should not be dismissed.
Work with Your Real Estate Professional
As an Ellison home buyer, you don't have to turn away from a house you want just because you've noticed a potential problem. Some homeowners will perform repairs during the escrow process, others may be willing to lower their selling price if a buyer comes along. Work with your real estate professional to decide whether a home is worth buying and, if so, what can be done to manage the home's problems.
This is why working with an experienced real estate professional is so important. Real estate agents know when to negotiate and when to walk away from a property.