Viewing a home that you’re interested in can be a big thrill, but don’t let the excitement cause you to overlook essential details. Home viewings and open houses give you a great opportunity to check out a property’s condition before you bid for it. And if you do decide to go ahead with the purchase, you can give your home inspector a heads-up about your concerns.
Check out our list of 10 things to watch out for:
- Foundation problems
Several signs can indicate foundation problems. Watch out for large cracks (as opposed to hairline cracks, which are generally harmless), especially above window frames. Other signs include poorly fitting doors and windows and uneven floors.
- The roof’s condition
You can spot roofing damage even from the ground. Watch out for missing tiles or shingles, holes, or just general signs of wear and tear. A roof that looks old and worn may prove to be a costly problem down the road.
- Unpleasant odors
Be wary of bad odors, such as sewage or gas. These could indicate serious plumbing problems. Other odors to watch out for include pet smells and mold and mildew. If you notice an overpowering scent from a room freshener, burning oil or something similar, it could mean the owner is trying to mask an unpleasant smell.
- Poor maintenance
A roof in poor condition could be a giveaway, but other telltale signs may indicate that the home has not seen regular maintenance. These include an unkempt yard, leaky faucets, peeling paint, and similar issues.
- The land and surroundings
Examine the surroundings, not just the house. If there’s a body of water nearby, check if the area is prone to flooding. Or if the property is close to a wooded area, look into any history of wildfires. Inspect the lawns and yards, the driveway, and other outdoor features.
- Mold growth
The presence of mold is not only unsightly but could also lead to health problems. In addition to a distinctive odor, other signs of mold infestation are dark spots on walls and ceilings, as well as on faucet caulking and around pipes and drains. Fresh paint, particularly if found only on certain parts of the house, could be a cover up for mold.
- Water damage
Water damage may indicate a history of serious flooding, which could have left a major effect on the home’s foundation. Signs of water damage include water lines and dark spots on walls and ceilings, rusted pipes, and leaks.
- Poor ventilation
Signs of moisture in walls and drywalls can indicate poor ventilation. These include peeling paint or paint bubbles around doors, windows, and other openings or vents. Condensation on windows can also indicate poor ventilation.
- Inadequate insulation
While not necessarily a problem, poor insulation can mean inefficient heating and cooling, which can lead to high energy bills. Some of the places to watch are the attic, heating and cooling ducts, and water pipes.
- Improper window installation
A window or door that’s difficult to operate or is lopsided may not have been properly installed. While this can be fixed, the repair costs could be substantial. In some instances, the only solution is to replace the window completely.