The process of buying a home has a lot of challenges regardless of whether you are an experienced house hunter or a first-time buyer. Home sellers can be people of integrity but you will not miss a few who will be silent on the problems their homes might be having. They will try to sell the property to you without revealing all the shortcomings of the home.
It is a requirement for all homeowners to sign a disclosure document about the home they are trying to sell. This is prudent so that buyers can know the kind of deal they are getting into before buying a home. According to Wendy Flynn, the proprietor of Wendy Flynn Realty in college Station, some home owners can tell white lies to conceal the problems that their homes have. She goes further to say that most litigation cases on matters real estate arise because of home owners misrepresenting the state of their homes.
So, to avoid being a victim of unscrupulous home sellers, here are some of the common problems concealed by home owners and how to uncover them:
Not only are water stains ugly but also a sign of leakages in the piping system. It is also a good place for mold to grow. According to Frank Baldassarre, the proprietor of Ace Home Inspections, such stains are easy for home owners to conceal with decorations in strategic places.
Many home sellers always make an effort of hiding water intrusion especially in the basement. They might use cardboard boxes or a big pile of suitcases to hide this atrocity. In case you notice such a scenario, it is wise to ask the home owner to move them and use a flashlight to check for any water stains. An odd damp odor or cracks on the wall are obvious red flags that you should find easy to notice. Be sure to also ask the owner to move a big painting on the wall just in case they are trying to hide a crack.
Another tactic is to check out for fresh paint on the wall. Always ask the owner when they last painted the house so that you can know whether they’re trying to hide water stains.
A backyard that is contaminated
If you are interested in buying an old home built around 1975, high chances are the house was run on oil. It was common back then to have huge oil tanks placed in the basement or in the backyard to save space and to make the home appear neat.
The problem with oil is that it contaminates soil and can be really had to remove. Always insist on going to the back yard and inspect for signs of spilled oil or sticking pipes from the ground. Some owners can be clever and try to hide this by using patches of grass or sawing off the pipes, says Baldassarre.
An unstable foundation
If you notice an uneven paint job on the windows or door frames, it is important to be on the lookout for any cracks in the wall, Flynn advises. The zigzag lines due to uneven paintjob can be a sign of a poor foundation and a potential for a collapse.
Below are some of the effects of a weak foundation:
- Doors, cabinets or other furniture fittings might not close properly
- Supporting beams for the house might easily snap and cause the house to collapse
- It can lead to a poor home appraisal which can adversely affect your loan
- The resale value of a house with a weak foundation declines
Flynn also advises that if you feel you are suddenly walking up or down on a level surface then most probably the house has a weak foundation.
Having problematic neighbors with barking dogs, blaring horns or noisy teens can discourage people from buying a home in that neighborhood. Home owners have realized this problem and usually make prior arrangements with neighbors to maintain silence and calmness. Some even instruct the neighbors to keep their noisy dogs inside when potential buyers come to inspect the house.
Homeowners are obligated to reveal to the buyers about the nuisances they might face in the neighborhood where the home is located. It is advisable that before buying a home you should take a stroll in the neighborhood at different times of the day to know what’s real and what’s not. You can go a mile further to make small talk with the neighbors and ask them about the neighborhood. They will give you an authentic view of what the home is really like on normal days.
unusual changes in the temperature
A home with a freezing bathroom or an unusual warm temperature can be really uncomfortable. It is important to have all your senses alert when walking into a room for the first time.
When you walk into a room and notice a subtle change in the atmosphere, it is important to ask the home owner how the home feels in different seasons. This is normally due to poor insulation or the effect of adding an extra floor to the home. Benuska advises that you shouldn’t pay for the extension if the construction was done without a permit.