When buying a home, it’s not uncommon to be overwhelmed with a million little details. Since this is such a large investment for most people, the stress of homebuying can often lead to the possibility of missing things that could have financial and even safety implications. 

Buyers need to look out for certain property red flags in a home. But how do you know what those are and how can you spot them? Here are some of the top red flags to look for on a property so that you can protect your investment. 

Rotted Wood

Wood that’s been exposed to the elements and moisture will rot over time. Inspect wood around the interior and exterior of the home. In particular, look at all of the wood in the bathroom and kitchen, since these areas are prone to plumbing and general moisture issues. 

Look for rot around the exterior of the home, including trim, eaves, and decks. Any areas that are susceptible to moisture should be protected with a special finish or paint. 

Structural/Foundation Problems

Rotted wood aside, a problem with a home’s foundation is probably one of the most costly repairs you’ll encounter. You may be able to see cracks in a foundation by inspecting the concrete in an unfinished basement. Other signs that a home has structural issues are doors and windows that aren’t square. 

Poor Ventilation

You want your home to have proper ventilation. If it doesn’t, it will be stuffy, and you’ll end with serious moisture issues. Check the ventilation in the attic and ensure that the roof is in good shape.

Bad Appliances

Unless you plan to start fresh with all new appliances, check the existing ones closely. Test the home appliances as well as things like the water heater, HVAC, and range hood.

Dangerous Repairs

There’s nothing wrong with buying a home that has some DIY work, but it’s important that any work completed be structurally sound and otherwise safe. For example, an amateur electrician, plumber, or framer that learned their skills on YouTube could create a serious hazard for a new homeowner. 

Inadequate Drainage

If you’re looking for a home during the rainy season, you can easily check the drainage. Otherwise, you’ll need to closely inspect the inside and outside of the structure to ensure that there aren’t any water intrusion issues or mold problems. 

Environmental Hazards

Because there were fewer restrictions on builders in the past, an older home might have some environmental issues that involve asbestos, lead-based paint, radon, and high levels of carbon monoxide. All of these require additional testing and some need remediation.  

Pest and/or Insect Problems

No one wants to move into a new home only to find that some critters are still in residence. Signs of termites, carpenter ants, and other wood-eating insects are sure property red flags that you can uncover with a pest inspection. 

Water Stains

If you see water stains on ceiling or walls, this is a clear sign that there is a water intrusion problem. The roof may be damaged or there might be an undiagnosed plumbing issue behind the walls. 

Electrical Issues

If the home has outdated wiring, this is a red flag for a buyer. Knob and tube wiring was once a standard, but not anymore. If some lights work and others don’t or only certain outlets in the home function, this is a safety concern. 

Final Thoughts

Buying a home, whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or an experienced one, is a huge event. It’s vital that buyers always keep a close eye out for these red flags. It’s also beneficial to have an experienced real estate professional in your corner that can help you spot them and figure out which ones are deal-breakers and which can help you get a better deal. 

The Lafayette Team has built a strong reputation for client service and has extensive knowledge of the area. We have more than 17 years of combined experience helping buyers and sellers achieve their real estate goals. Contact us to learn more about how we can bring our highest level of service to your next home purchase or sale.