Photo by Ketut Subiyanto
Buying a property is often the single most significant expense that a person will ever make, and yet, we are often rushed to make the decision. It’s not easy to return a house if you decide later that it doesn’t meet your needs, and moving again can be expensive, so it is essential to get it right the first time. Whether you’re buying your first home, or are looking to move on to something new, then here are ten of the most common red flags that you should look out for when home hunting.
1. You can only view the property at a particular time.
Whether you are looking to secure a prime piece of Portland real estate, or something a little more affordable, you need to view the property before making your decision. One of the biggest red flags when booking a property viewing is if you are only able to do so at a very limited time, as this suggests that there may be something that the owners are trying to hide. Even if there are no viewing restrictions in place, then it is advisable to return to the property several times at different points in the day to make sure that there aren’t any hidden surprises.
2. There’s not enough room for you to grow.
Unless you’re buying a property to flip, it’s important to consider your future plans so that you can grow into the space as your family expands. How many children do you want? Are pets in the pipeline? Do you have your eyes on a dream piece of furniture that needs to fit? These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself to protect you from needing to up-size too quickly.
3. The local schools are not any good.
Even if children are not in your future plans, the reputation and quality of the local schools in your area will significantly impact the demand for property in the vicinity and could affect your resale value. Always take a look at how the local schools in the area are performing and bear this in mind when making your decision.
4. Letting interior design sway you.
Realtors are smart and rely on a positive emotional reaction to help them sell you the house. The property you are viewing will have likely been dressed and styled to make you fall in love the moment you walk in the door, but it’s essential to look past this facade and notice what is going on a little deeper.
5. Getting bad-vibes from the neighborhood.
Although you may love the property behind closed doors, it’s also essential that you feel comfortable in your new neighborhood if you are going to get joy from living there. While flaking paint and old carpets can be improved upon, there’s very little that you can do about your neighborhood if it doesn’t meet your expectations, so if you aren’t sold on it yet, then take a step back to re-evaluate.
6. Being asked to wave the home inspection.
Believe it or not, it is not hugely uncommon for some sellers to offer incentives to buyers if they wave the home inspection – never do this! An inspection is designed to reveal structural faults and any other hidden flaws in the property, which allow you to renegotiate a price or run to the hills if something can’t be quickly put right. If a seller is trying to make you wave the home inspection, then the chances are that they know that something is wrong with the property and don’t want you to find out about it.
7. Being forced to borrow too much.
There’s nothing wrong with borrowing to afford your first home, so long as it is an amount that you know you can repay. Don’t let your emotions allow a realtor or seller to push you into borrowing more money to close the deal, as this could leave you in a tricky financial situation in the future. Set yourself a budget and stick to it no matter what.
8. Failing to take into consideration renovation costs.
Buying a property that needs a little TLC is a great way to secure yourself something that would ordinarily be out of your price range; however, have you taken into consideration the cost of the renovations? Many people forget to budget the cost of renovations and repairs or fail to estimate for them accurately, which can leave them out of pocket in the long run, or in a situation where their improvements run way over schedule.
9. Not looking at the future of the area.
This red-flag works both ways. If you fail to consider whether the house prices in the area are rising or falling, you could end up losing money or missing out on an opportunity that could have earned you a nice return. Even if a neighborhood appears to be run-down or up and coming, do your own research into house prices and future plans for the area.
10. Environmental concerns and hazards
Perhaps the biggest environmental concern you should consider when purchasing your property is whether it is liable to flooding. Always check the FEMA flood maps for your area and if it looks as though you are at risk of flooding, then be sure to check what flood protection measures are in place and to have a thorough inspection on the house to check for any damage that may have been caused by a previous flood. Some other things to consider include whether you are close to an abandoned mine, or in an area where there is endangered wildlife that could affect future planning proposals.
Any potential buyer needs to be aware of these red-flags, but they don’t automatically mean that you need to find a new dream property. There’s no such thing as a perfect home, and some red-flags are easier to deal with than others. To protect yourself from a costly financial mistake, do your research and make yourself aware of these property red-flags so that you can make a more informed decision about the potential risks that you are taking.