Home Buying Scams To Beware Of
When shopping for a home, many buyers quickly approve a floor plan, make sure there’s enough storage space, check the appliances, and think they’re ready to make an offer. Smart buyers go way beyond the fun, superficial things and take a more in-depth look at the home from the ground up.
Especially in today’s competitive market, buyers move fast, and sometimes they proceed without caution. It’s important to note that in a market where people know that houses are a hot commodity and might be able to offload their home for a higher price than usual with few questions, it’s crucial to beware of these potential home buying scams.
Home Buying Scams To Beware Of: Notice These Seven Red Flags When Buying A House
For first-time homebuyers, or individuals simply looking for a house they can afford, it can be relatively easy to make mistakes during the process.
Even if you feel like you’re under the gun to make a decision, especially in a hot market, don’t rush into a commitment this big without doing your due diligence. Here are six red flags that could turn into potential home buying scams and end up costing you a pretty penny.
Red Flag # 1: Weird Smells
Don’t let those scented candles and fragrance plug-ins fool you. Take a deep inhale in every room you enter, look closely at walls, baseboards, and corners where pet stains or smells may be lurking. The more aggressive a homeowner is flooding the home with an overwhelming scent, the more suspicious you should be about what they’re trying to hide. Please note any hints of mold, mildew, or smoke they may be hiding. Weird odors can mask an infestation, poor ventilation, water damage, leaky pipes, or HVAC issues.
Red Flag #2: Patches Of Fresh Paint
Be aware of fresh paint in the home. Paint is one of the easiest and most cost-efficient ways to make your home feel fresh and clean and have it ready for new homeowners. However, if the paint is random, patchy, or just one wall, not an entire room, do some detective work and find out why. Fresh paint raises a red flag when only random walls or a portion of a wall or ceiling is painted. The seller may be hiding a defect or stains. At the very least, it tells you the seller cuts corners when it comes to fixing up the home, and you may find yourself wondering what else they cut corners on.
Red Flag #3: Foundation Issues
Since the foundation is one of the costliest home repairs and a critical structure, it’s essential that it’s in good condition. Hairline cracks in walls are common in most homes after a few years. They indicate the house is settling. However, cracks wider than 1/2 inch or more significant cracks recently covered up are a red flag. Other things to look out for are sticking windows or doors, uneven floors, and cracks above window frames.
Lift windows up and down to ensure they slide easily. Also, take the time to raise the blinds and pull back the curtains to check for crooked frames. These things are easy to check for before offering to buy a home but difficult to fix if you don’t find them until it’s too late.
Red Flag #4: Water Damage Or Mold
Check ceilings and walls for water lines. Water lines or stains may indicate flooding from a burst pipe or a leak. Even small black or gray spots suggest that more severe issues are lurking. To detect potential signs of mold, open the cabinets under the kitchen and bathroom sinks to check for evidence of leaks and black or dark gray spots that could be mold spores. Also, inspect showers and tubs, check caulking around all water fixtures and check the air vents. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for any standing water in the yard, this can be a sign of poor drainage or a deeper issue.
Red Flag #5: Pest Or Insect Infestations
Keep an eye out for signs of insect infestation. Infestations can be notoriously tricky to get rid of once established in a home and be costly to deal with. Some signs a buyer can look for when touring a home are dead bugs in corners and windowsills, check for bed bugs in bedrooms at corners of mattresses and furniture and behind pictures, pest droppings from mice, or evidence of nesting behind appliances or inside cabinets. You can also look for termites in multiple ways, but it’s best to get a professional termite inspection. Seeing insects like cockroaches in the home can signify a larger problem because cockroaches can make their nests in walls or attic spaces that aren’t easily accessible to humans.
Red Flag #6: Underpriced Homes
There’s no real estate red flag more telling than a house whose price is too good to be true. A homeowner may drastically reduce the cost of their home if it’s been on the market longer than expected or if they’re desperate to sell. This could suggest a problem with the house, so be extra cautious when considering one of these homes. Before making hasty financial decisions, because it’s such a good deal, make sure to have the home thoroughly inspected.
Red Flag #7: Lots Of Houses For Sale In The Same Neighborhood
It’s not unusual to find two or three houses for sale in the same neighborhood or on the same street. But if you see an excessive amount of “For Sale” signs, you may want to consider looking elsewhere. Sometimes a neighborhood is rapidly gentrifying, and longtime homeowners are cashing in or downsizing. But make sure that there’s not another culprit, such as an increasing crime rate. Do your homework and assess the situation before taking the plunge.
Before Falling Prey To A Home Buying Scam, Get An Inspection
There are plenty of red flags and problems that you can spot with the naked eye. But an inspection is there to catch all the things you can’t see. A certified home inspection performed by a seasoned professional is a homebuyers best friend. An inspection offers you the opportunity to spot any significant problems before the sale and save you thousands in future repair costs.
Connect With Living Houston
Once you find a home, make sure to talk to your REALTOR® about inspection options. There are many inspections you can have done. Discuss which ones are necessary for the home you’re interested in. Inspections have a cost, but they offer you peace of mind which is well worth it. And if you need any assistance in your home buying journey or more information on inspections, contact Living Houston. We’re here to help.