4 Red Flags for Would-Be Homebuyers
November 24, 2010
As a potential homebuyer, it's thrilling to find the house you think may be "the one." Many would-be buyers go in with blinders on, however, preferring to believe that their dream home is invulnerable. An independent home inspection is a crucial measure to undergo before making a final decision. Before you pin all of your hopes to one home, be on the lookout for these common red flags.
A home inspector will be able to tell you if a home needs a new roof. This costly investment (approximately $20,000 to $40,000) is more than many would-be buyers are willing to pay. Although a new roof can last up to 50 years, it usually doesn't increase the home's resale value. Unless the seller is willing to come to a suitable agreement, such as deducting the cost of the roof replacement from the selling price, it's probably better to seek a roof over your head that's still got some life in it.
Horizontal cracks and wide vertical cracks in a home can be signs of serious drainage problems or structural instability, and can cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair. A home inspector can give you a clearer idea of the damage and repair costs, as cracks can indicate a number of problems of varying degrees of severity.
Aluminum Wiring or Galvanized Steel Pipes
Aluminum wiring is no longer used in home construction because of the serious fire hazards it presents. Copper wiring is the standard for homes today. Replacing all of the wiring in a home can be a costly investment. Similarly, galvanized steel plumbing is no longer used because of its susceptibility to leaks, corrosion, and sediment buildup. Replacing either aluminum wiring or galvanized steel pipes can cost about $10,000, which can cause some potential buyers to back away.
Water Stains or Rotting Wood
Floors that are uneven or warped, or walls or ceilings with visible water stains can point to mold or rot beneath the surface. Wood that is soft to the touch, crumbly, or spongy may also indicate moisture penetration, and can be costly to replace. While a home inspector can point to signs of mold, a separate inspection is usually necessary to investigate mold or mildew concerns.
If you do make an offer on a home, you can ask that the offer be contingent on a thorough home inspection. Afterwards, the selling price can be negotiated to take repairs into account. No matter how great the house seems from the outside, be sure to look at it from a critical perspective before making your final choice.