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Homes & Land Blog > 6 House-Hunting Red Flags


6 House-Hunting Red Flags

If you’re ready to get out there and look for a house, there are many factors to keep in mind. You’ll be considering location, budget, size, neighborhood… and the list goes on. It’s easy to fall in love with a property without really knowing if it’s a good and practical investment.

House-Hunting Red Flags

You want and need to love it - but it needs to be an enduring love! Emotions tend to get the better of us when we’re looking to buy a house. To prevent costly mistakes and buyer’s remorse, take a look at this list of real estate red flags. It could help you stay objective when deciding on the purchase of a home. 

  1. The Price is Much Lower Than the Market Value.

    Especially in a seller’s market, this is one of the biggest house hunting red flags. It implies that there’s something wrong with the home or that the sellers are desperate to sell. Sometimes, this could be a strategic tactic to spur on a multiple offer situation to drive the price up, so due diligence is required to figure out the reasoning.

    Your agent should be able to do some research and speak with the seller’s agent to get the real story. Until you know the details, beware of falling in love with a property in this situation. 
  2.  
  3. There is Evidence of Water Damage.

    If you’re touring a home and smell mold or see evidence of prior water spots, beware. What you see is rarely all there is. If you smell mold or a musty odor, there is likely a much bigger problem.

    Mold grows quickly and can be dangerous if left untreated. If you still want to move forward on this one, make sure you do adequate inspections and have your agent protect you in case it’s an insidious problem. You can do this by making your offer contingent upon a professional, objective inspection. 
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water-damage

  1. There Are No Photos.

    Everyone expects to see lots of pictures of a house on the market. As a seller, you want to portray your home in the best light possible to attract the most interest, and as a buyer, you need to have this visual information to determine whether you want to take a closer look.

    If there are little to no photos of a home online, there’s usually a reason for that. Maybe it’s in poor condition, or some tenants are making the sale difficult. In either case, this may not be a home you want to consider further. 
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  3. The House Has Been On and Off the Market in a Short Amount of Time.

    This could signal a few house hunting red flags. First, it may be overpriced, and the previous buyers couldn’t get the appraisal needed for their loan.

    This often happens in a seller’s market when home prices get bid up. If the seller isn’t willing to lower the price to meet the appraised number, the deal will likely die since most buyers don’t want to pay more for a house than it’s worth.

    Another possible reason a house could go on and off the market is that there is a material defect with the home, and it can’t pass an inspection to the buyer’s satisfaction.
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  5. There are many Houses for Sale in the Same Neighborhood.

    Suppose you see several available properties on the market in the same neighborhood. In that case, it could mean that there’s an issue on the horizon, and owners are trying to get out before their home equity is affected. Maybe an undesirable entity or infrastructure project is about to be built.

    Examples of this could be public transportation, a power plant, etc. Additionally, it could be a current hazard like a toxic waste facility that emits odors or other harmful elements. Be sure to have your agent thoroughly research the surroundings and take a look at the city’s master plan so that you can be prepared for what may be to come. 

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  7. The Neighborhood is Described as “Up and Coming.”

    While this may not be a problem for some, others might not be comfortable purchasing a home in an area with higher crime rates, failing infrastructure, or rundown buildings.

    Neighborhoods like these can be great investments if there is an initiative on a city or county level to make improvements. Sometimes, sellers or their agents may overstate the neighborhood’s potential, so do your research before taking the plunge on one of these. 
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Finding a home isn’t easy. It requires dedication and research. There are many house hunting red flags beyond this list to consider. Be sure to trust your agent and your gut, and you’ll be in a better position to make an informed decision

Connect with a trusted, experienced real estate professional on Homes & Land. They’ll help you avoid house hunting red flags - and get you home.

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