House hunting is one of the most exciting yet daunting experiences you can endure. To fully know what you are getting yourself into and prevent being locked into a mortgage with unexpected complications, it’s important to be aware and evaluate while shopping. Don’t sign those papers just yet without knowing the warning signs you should be looking out for:
Smells, Stains, and Watermarks
These are probably the most obvious, but often the seller will tell you it’s only temporary or that there is an option for a cheap, easy fix. Don’t listen to this!
Your sense of smell is one of your most prominent senses. If something smells out of the ordinary, that’s your first sign to walk away. You might think you can clean the smell away, but if you can’t, it could cause thousands in repairs down the line.
These are usually more deep-rooted than they look. For example, if a previous owner had cats, dogs, or other animals, the stench of urine and other bodily functions can seep deeper than the surface layer, and sometimes even into the floorboards or base of the house.
Look up at the ceilings, the corners of rooms, under the sinks, and all parts of the house with access to water. Watermarks can be mild, but they can also be areas of extreme danger where mold grows, structure weakens, and musty smells are produced. Make sure you don’t see any watermarks, and if you do, ask the owner or whoever is showing the home what the situation is.
Water heaters, pumps, furnaces, pipes, and other systems are crucial to a properly working home. When they reach an age where they must be replaced, it can be extremely pricey. Depending on how well the systems were maintained, the average lifespan of each can vary. Ask the homeowner or seller, and try to work out a deal for new systems if necessary. To personally evaluate:
- Check the date
- Ask for the user’s manual
- Look for dampness, mold, cracks, or corrosion around the unit/system
- Ask to see a utility bill
- Listen for strange noises
Pest and Rodent Residue
Bugs and rodents don’t have to be visible to be there. In this case, look for traps, spray cans, and other pest removal items that may indicate a problem.
Make sure to take a walk outside to check the foundation of the land. The lining around the house can show complications with erosion, flooding, rotting, and more. This can also go way further than the surface and potentially wear on the land and materials stabilizing the house.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions! When it comes to your potential home, you deserve answers. For more information about the warning signs while house hunting or other home exterior questions or concerns, contact us today!