Buying a new home requires much more work than simply saving money and checking listings on Zillow. To purchase the perfect home, you need to conduct research, and one way to do so involves reading up a real estate agent's red flags in home buying. In one of the more positive sides of Reddit, realtors reveal red flags you should look out for when buying a house. Additionally, a few homeowners share the red flags they encountered when they bought their home.
Aspects of a house, from the interior's smell to the condition of the basement, all deserve examination and consideration before you ever sign your name on a dotted line. That said, keeping an eye out for open-house red flags can be difficult with all of the various factors involved. On occasion, previous homeowners leave stuff behind or fail to disclose their newly built secret panic room that conflicts with zoning laws.
It goes without saying that purchasing a new home demands a great deal of research, time, and effort on the part of the buyer. But thanks to these helpful tips and tricks from real estate agents, you might just land the home of your dreams.
From Redditor /u/Paretio:
As a construction guy, [I advise you to] please, please, please check the attic. People buy houses and never check the actual attic. If you go up there and smell a burnt smell or see big, silvery tubes that look crumpled, those are issues.
If there is any strong smell, don't buy. No one spends $80 on Glade plugins unless they are trying to hide something.
From Redditor /u/Yvgar:
Go to showings when it's rainy as f*ck, then check out the basement.
This will expose any water issues with the foundation... One house I was shown had a cable run into the basement from outside at the dirt-level and never sealed - so there was a stream of water pouring over the circuit breaker box onto the basement floor.
Passed on that house.
From Redditor /u/_PM_ME_YOUR_SMILE:
If your realtor says "built to code," that means they made the building as crappy as legally possible.
From Redditor /u/bGlxdWlkZ2Vja2EK:
Be wary of staging (the furniture/decorations that are in the house when you see it). Oftentimes smaller stuff will be used to make rooms look bigger than they are. Take a tape measure and have a list of the sizes of the stuff you own just so you can visualize yourself.
Pay attention to ports, outlets, thermostats, windows, etc. If putting your bed in the corner will cover the thermostat, you will be annoyed, or if there are no outlets in the corner where you want to put the TV, you will end up with cables all over the floor, etc.
Pay attention to what is behind or around the room you are looking at. If it's over the garage, you will hear the garage door opener and it will be loud. If it's near the kitchen, it will smell like food and be hot in the summer when cooking.
Dual zone AC? This is important if it's two-story since the upstairs will be hot without it (heat rises). Look for thermostats. Ideally there is one or more per level.
Rooms on the front of the house will hear street noise (cars going by, children playing, etc.). Which rooms face the front?
Extensions. If a part of the house looks like it doesn't "belong," i.e., the doorway... could have been a wall and the whole extra part could have not existed, then be careful. Oftentimes extensions can "corrupt" the construction of the original house. For example, they can screw up drainage, cause leaks in the seams with the roof, or generally just weaken construction. Make sure you look up who built the house, and who did the extension, and also verify that the work was permitted and done to code by contacting the city or county code division. (h/t /u/ed_merckx)
Converted garage? If there is a front room that seems like it is right where the garage should have been, it might be a converted room. These are often drafty rooms that have really hard floors and can be strangely noisy due to the household equipment like water heaters or furnaces hidden in them.
House backs up to a business? You are going to hear cars coming and going, as well as trucks loading and unloading.
West-facing rooms will get lots of light at sunrise, bad for bedrooms, good for breakfast nooks. Rooms that face west will get lots of light at sunset, bad if a TV will be anywhere near this situation when you come home from work. North-facing rooms will get no direct sunlight at all, so they will be cold in winter, but south-facing rooms will get full sun in summer, which will make them hot.