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Buyer Beware: 8 Things You Need to Be Aware of When Buying a House

Monday, September 13, 2021

Whether you are a first-time buyer or not, your first rodeo buying a house always holds an element of risk. Things cannot always be what they seem and unlike buying a car, getting someone to take it off your hands isn't such an easy affair. 

That means that thorough checking and research and needs to go into buying a house. But some things are not so obvious that could be telling you, "Buyer beware!".

We have put together an essential list for you to keep in mind before you commit to signing on the dotted line.

1. Check the Air Conditioning Units

One of the biggest threats to a house causing you problems, in the long run, is mold. But most people know this, and therefore if the inspector comes back with the all-clear, most people are happy with that. 

But there is reason to take things a step further.

One of the biggest culprits of mold in a home is via the HVAC system, something that many inspectors miss. So do your due diligence and try to look into the ducts to see if there is a mold build-up. This can happen due to the ducting or unit itself not being the right size for the home, and replacements can be very expensive.

Remember, this can turn into a major health concern and one that, unlike some other red flags, you won't be able to ignore. 

2. Review Owner History 

You know when you are onto a good thing, right? This is especially the case when it comes to the biggest purchase that you are likely to make in your lifetime.

If you get it right, you won't even consider leaving. However, if it becomes evident you made a mistake, then you will likely look for the exit sooner rather than later. 

That is why it pays to check over how often the home has been bought and sold in its time. While everything may seem idyllic, a constant stream of people selling over 20 years could be telling a story. 

According to the National Association of Realtors, the average duration of homeownership is 13 years, so buyer beware if people it's clear that people don't want to stay. 

3. Pray for a Rainy Day 

We normally hope for the sun to keep his hat on if we decide to do anything outside. But when you are buying a house, the rain may be your saving grace.

Water damage can cause tremendous anguish to what can seem like a perfect home. This is why seeing what happens when it rains can help in identifying if there are any nonobvious potential problems. 

Check to see where the water flows and if there is any standing water in the yard. This can cause very expensive problems for the home's foundations down the road. 

4. Talk to the Neighbors

Most people leave the small talk with the neighbors after they move in, but there is good reason to do it before. 

Everyone from the current homeowner to the real estate agent has a reason to make you want to see everything with rose-tinted glasses. But the people who live nearby have no such perceived biases. 

As long as you are not too invasive and are tactful, they should be more than happy to fill you in on if you are onto a winner regarding the area or if there are some local issues that you should be aware of.

5. Buyer Beware of Air Fresheners 

Whether it is incense, traditional air fresheners, or the smell of freshly baked cookies, our noses can sometimes be used to trick us. Issues that are red flags for a seasoned professional can be missed by a first-time buyer, and smells are one of them.

Any place that obviously had the scent cranked up to 11 may be used to mask over a whole host of problems, from mold, cat or dog urine, or a leaky pipe. 

Avoid these home buying problems by asking for another visit if you notice it, and request for no air fresheners to be used this time. 

6. For Sale by Owner 

A first-time buyer can see a home being sold by the owner and think that it must be a cheaper way to get a deal over the line. But very often, that the opposite is the case.

Remember that if the owner is selling it themselves, they are likely conscious of saving money themselves, meaning negotiations may be less favorable for you. 

In addition, there are legal requirements, such as things that need to be disclosed that they simply may not be aware of, leaving you with a big problem. Going into things head first may mean certain things won't be covered by your title insurance, so be wary of these deals.  

7. Bring a Marble With You

Sunken and misshapen floors are an obvious red flag for even a first-time buyer. But uneven floors, especially in newer homes, are another reason to shout our "buyer beware!"

Foundation issues may be screaming out to you or an issue with the joists or beams. Fixing these problems can be very expensive, so try to be sure of no underlying issues.

Either way, keeping a marble in your pocket on your visit is a simple but effective way to find out what may be in store.

8. Vary Your Visits

If you are planning on buying a house, you will want to go more than once. But limiting your times to just when you finish work may leave you walking into a problem. 

By going at different times during the day and night, as well as on different days, can help you a lot. 

From finding out how loud the garbage truck is to seeing if a neighbor routinely hosts loud parties on a Friday night, going at different times is a great way to get a good lay of the land and avoid common house buying problems relating to the area.

Ensure the Smoothest Purchase Possible

Buying a home should be a cause for celebration; however, getting it wrong can have the opposite effect. We hope our informative rundown of the reasons for a buyer to beware can help you find your dream home and not a little house of horrors.

If you want to take advantage of having peace of mind when sealing the deal, then getting title insurance is a must. We at Heartland Abstract pride ourselves on providing the best and most thorough process to ensure that you can move into your new home quickly with no potential hiccups. 

If you live in the metro Philadelphia area, take advantage of our services and get in contact with us today!

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