5 Potential Problems A First Time Homebuyer Can Spot

Dated: 12/10/2015

Views: 1326


Imagine driving down the road in a used car you just purchased. The wind blows effortlessly in your hair while the radio is blaring from the speakers. Suddenly, the car begins to smoke and sputter. You now begin to hear the sounds of cash registers because you realize this is going to be an expensive fix, especially since you bought a used car without ever looking under the hood. The same scenario can occur when purchasing a home.


Looking for potential problems with your new home is just as important as looking under the hood of a used car. Some first time homebuyers fail to realize that not every home seller is honest about the condition of their property. Knowing how to spot problems and gauge the cost of repairs will be far better than hoping for the best. Here are five potential problems you can learn to spot when searching for your first home:


1. Electrical Issues


Electrical problems in a new home can be a big, expensive issue. Be sure to walk around the prospective house and pay close attention to the electrical outlets.


  • Do they look like they have been tampered with or overloaded with plugs?

  • Flick the light switches on and off several times to make sure they are working properly.

  • Use your nose. Does the house smell like wet hair being flat ironed?


2. Workmanship and Repairs


Everyone loves a cheap deal. However, cutting corners on house repairs is a bad idea for everyone, especially a potential first time home buyer. That is why inspecting the workmanship of the home is important.


When house shopping, take a close look at the structure. Is the paint chipping away? Are the wooden floors bubbling? Does the exhaust fan sound like a squirrel climbed inside of it and died?


If you are truly interested in a home, it is okay to inquire about the history of repairs in the home. The consequences of not spotting poor workmanship and repairs can be costly.


3. Odd Stains on Walls and Ceilings


Disregarding stains on the walls and ceilings could be disastrous. If the stains that you see are something that a little soap and water can’t fix, it could be a sign to reconsider the home you have chosen.


Unexplained stains could mean a water leak, problems with the heating and cooling unit, or a roofing problem. It’s important you take note of these things as you move forward.


4. Poor Drainage


It is highly recommended that you check the plumbing and drainage system in the house you would like to purchase. Signs that the drainage on the property is not working include:


  • Gutters that are under or oversized and not clean.

  • Unexplained puddles of water in the front or backyard.

  • Chipping walls, cracks in the foundation, and if there is a basement, consistent flooding or stains on the ceiling and walls.


Fixing a house with poor plumbing can be expensive, so if there isn’t room in the budget to fix it consider looking for a different home.


5. The Presence of Mold


Mold can be incredibly dangerous for you and your family. As you shop for a home, pay close attention to areas that are a breeding ground for mold, especially bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and attics. Also, take a very close look at the ceilings, sinks, tiles, grout, and underneath the sinks.


There are various types of mold, so be sure that you are able to identify which type of mold is present in order to get the best possible treatment. Mold removal can be costly and as a first time homebuyer you certainly don’t want to spend time or money removing a mold problem.


Look For the Red Flags of Property Problems


Being a first time homebuyer is exciting. However, it’s important to understand what to look for and why when shopping. If any red flags are present, and you see potential dangers, the best thing to do is move on and search for a different house.


Just as you do when purchasing a car, you should always be wary of shady real estate dealings and pay close attention to the home you are interested in buying. One of the best defense measures you can take against buying a lemon of a house is working with a reputable real estate agent. They can walk you through the buying process, including how to spot and avoid a fixer-upper within your budget versus a major money pit.

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