In this article, we’ll give a little heads up on signs of trouble that you may observe when surveying a property even though it looks perfectly fine on the outside. They include:
- Doors and window that won’t close
- Moldy smell and water stains
- Exterior and interior cracks
- Ownership history
- Uneven, or wobbly floors
- Outdated Electrical and Water System
- Super scented homes
- Very eager sellers at very low price
Keep in mind that whether you are buying property to rent or as an investment, you must be a thorough home inspector. The last thing you want to do is bid an enormous amount of money and have larger unexpected costs. Having said that, let us discuss each of these warning signs that you should take note of.
1. DOORS AND WINDOWS THAT WON’T CLOSE
An usual sign of outdated framing, doors and windows that do not close indicate that the frames have shifted or in need of repair. It could also indicate deferred maintenance or worse, issues with the foundation or beams of the doors or windows.
Try closing and opening the doors and windows, they should easily slide, otherwise, you might be in for extra cost to repair or replace jambs or beams.
You may also want to look at the top and bottom parts of the doors and see if there are any indication that it has been cut to fit in the jamb. Usually, homeowners cut a portion of the door to fit their doorways, sacrificing the structural integrity of the door.
2. MOLDY SMELL AND WATER STAINS
Molds result from trapped moisture in the walls which indicate a problem on the water system of the house. As a result, a musty smell radiates and small black or gray spots appear.
Some homeowners would want to conceal this by painting the walls white or sticking wallpapers, however, this can still be visible through damp patches, peeling paint or wallpaper, a bubbling plaster, or rotting of wood materials like in flooring or cabinets.
To detect possible signs of mold, it is recommended to open the bathroom and sink cabinets and take a look around water pipes or drains. Having these spots could indicate more serious issues with the property and can be difficult and expensive to treat.
3. EXTERIOR AND INTERIOR CRACKS
Cracks indicate a fault in the foundation of the house. It does not matter whether you are buying a home or buying a property for investment, having cracks is ultimately a deal-breaker.
A careful visual inspection of the house during the open house would help you decide. Cracks wider than ¼ inch, and those that appear to have been recently patched indicate an unstable foundation which could bring danger to the future occupants of the house in case of an earthquake.
4. OWNERSHIP HISTORY
The Land Registry has details of the property’s ownership history. A quick search will reveal if people choose not to stay long in the property. However, this could also be because of various reasons outside the property itself. It may be because of the neighborhood, or its distance from town. You may also ask around the area for the history of ownership of the property.
The average length of ownership for a home in America today is about nine years, so if the ownership falls below that, it is a wise choice to heck the details or ask around before making an offer, because it’s difficult to truly know what it’s like to live in a home until after you’ve taken possession of it.
5. UNEVEN, OR WOBBLY FLOORS
Having uneven, wobbly, or sloping floors may indicate a flaw in the structural foundation of the floor. It could indicate a foundation problem, rotted support beams, or leveling out of the floor, either due to age, or to poor tiling work.
Nonetheless, it is best to inspect the floor in high-traffic areas such as the kitchen, living room, bathroom, and in the attic or second floor, if applicable.
6. OUTDATED ELECTRICAL AND WATER SYSTEMS
One of the most important warning signs in surveying a property are outdated electrical and water systems.
If the property is old and kept unmaintained for a long time, this could be a red flag, as it may be a fire hazard. Rewiring a house is extremely expensive and disruptive since it entails a lot of work from reworking on the ceiling up to replacing old outlets and switches.
Problems in the water system may not be immediately evident—although water stains, sagging floors and mildew could tell problems on plumbing. Also, sewer lines or older septic tanks that weren’t regularly updated can incur extra cost in the future.
7. SUPER SCENTED HOMES
A strongly scented home may indicate a problem in its ventilation or molds. The more aggressive a scent when you walk into the house, the greater the likelihood the seller might be trying to mask a more telling odor.
When doing a house inspection, take a whiff at every room or cabinet to find out whether there is an insidious odor emanating somewhere in the house like a moldy carpet, a dog pee in the basement, or a musty smell on the sink or toilet.
8. VERY EAGER SELLER AT A SUPER LOW PRICE
A very persistent seller at a super low price may indicate that a property has problems waiting to be fixed by its new owner. Whether it’s a sewage problem, replacing broken shingles, or having structural repairs, houses that are priced very low often have problems that will be too expensive for the owner to repair.
It feels great when you are so close to your dream and about to buy the house which you have always dreamed of. For most of us, it is the biggest financial commitment we will ever make. Take the time to see through these warning signs and investigate, you may also hire professional inspectors so you know exactly what you’ll be getting before you make a decision.