Searching for a new home, whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or moving for the third time, can be exciting. That being said, it can also be a bit more than you bargained for if you don’t know how to look for a few real estate red flags. If you want to make sure you’re making a smart home purchase, learn how to spot these expensive problems before you commit.
Old or Damaged Windows
Older windows on a home you’re looking at might not seem like an expensive problem at first glance. But when you consider that almost 30% of a home’s energy is lost through the windows, it becomes a much more expensive issue than you may have bargained for. But what should you be looking for when you want to inspect a potential new home’s windows? Here are a few red flags that should tip you off to the probability that you’ll need to spend more than you want to on replacing or repairing your new home’s windows.
- Lopsided frames
- Warped windowsills
- Sticky windows
- Rattling glass panes
- Gaps between glass and frames
When you know what to look for, it’s easier to spot potential money-sucks during your walk-throughs. Of course, if you’re planning to replace your new home’s windows regardless, the condition of the current windows might not be a huge issue. That being said, it’s still important to look at the structural integrity of the area surrounding the windows. Any issues in the immediate surrounding area could throw a wrench into your budgeting plans.
Old or Faulty Electrical Work
Part of the charm of old houses lies in their good structural bones and unique interior design elements. That being said, older electrical work is not something you want to be working with when you move into your new house. While flicking the lights on in every room can give you a good indication of recent maintenance for light fixtures and bulbs, it can’t really tell you much about the inner electrical work. And considering that over 45,000 electrical fires occur annually in US homes, faulty wiring isn’t something you want to risk, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. So when you’re looking at your potential new home, make a point to ask about when it was built and when the electrical work was last looked at. If you’re not totally convinced by the answer you get, come back with an electrician in tow or call an electrician to ask about issues they’ve dealt with in homes as old as the one you’re looking at. The better an idea you have of what the maintenance or replacement costs could look like a year or two out, the safer your investment will be.
A Long Stay on the Market
When you find a house that you love, it can be easy to overlook red flags that have been staring you in the face the entire time. One such red flag is time spent on the market. While a house that’s been on the market for a while might not be immediate cause for financial caution, it’s a good sign that you should investigate further. When almost 45% of the homeowner population is comprised of millennials who may be in their first home, odds are they’re not the ones selling. So when you visit a home that seems too good to be true, make a point to ask just how long it’s been on the market for. If your realtor doesn’t give you a great answer, check in with a few of the neighbors if you can. They may be able to give you a better history of who has owned the home and why they ended up moving out. The last thing you want is to move in and find out that there’s something seriously wrong with your new home that the previous owners simply didn’t want to disclose or repair.
Searching for a new home should be an exciting time! The good news is that it absolutely can be once you do your due diligence. Make sure you look for these red flags to avoid paying more than you should for needless repairs in your new home.
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