If you’re in the process of selling a home and buying your next one in Charleston, SC, you’ll probably find that the properties you are viewing are staged and spotless. While the presentation is nice, what you see is not always what you get. We often find that if you’re not vigilant during the home buying process, problems start cropping up after the keys are handed over. Luckily, many issues can be spotted before it’s too late! Our experts have compiled this list of 7 red flags to look out for as you house hunt. 

Pay Attention To Scents

It’s a common trick of the trade for sellers in Charleston, SC, to make an open house more inviting by lighting candles or using scented sprays. But be wary of places that have overcompensated with strong-smelling additives. It’s possible they could be attempting to cover up a bad odor that could be a sign of something more serious. 

Smoke, pet, and food odors can linger indefinitely, so if the previous owners were careless about airing out the house, it could pose a problem for you as a buyer. What’s worse is that bad smells can be a sign of water damage or mold

DIY Jobs

It’s not uncommon for homeowners to take matters into their own hands and undertake a home renovation themselves in order to save money, but it doesn’t always turn out as planned. Look out for signs of poor craftsmanship such as uneven tiling or sloppy paint jobs. These “improvements” can cost you time and money to redo down the line. 

In addition, cosmetic updates are sometimes made to cover up defects. It’s possible that fresh paint and carpeting could be hiding pet damage or mold. If you can, take a peek under carpets, in cabinets, and elsewhere for signs that these improvements aren’t just an aesthetic choice.

Signs of Neglect

A neglected property in Charleston, SC, is a major red flag to more serious problems. Homebuyers should be discerning about the level of upkeep when touring an open house, looking for signs of anything that could compromise the integrity of the home. 

Faded paint, old plumbing, and an unkempt yard are often indicative of more serious problems. Conscientious homeowners stay on top of home maintenance and make improvements regularly. If the previous homeowner didn’t take care of superficial areas of the home, it’s likely that they didn’t take care of the things below the surface, too. Be wary of this or else your next home could be a money pit!

Water Nearby

So many of our clients have the dream of having an idyllic stream on their property! Although it may be a fantastic addition to your property, this picturesque creek has the potential to turn into a raging river in a bad storm.

Major weather events are increasingly common and having a home near water can spell serious trouble and costly repairs. To find out the flood hazard of a property in Charleston, SC, homebuyers should use FEMA’s flood maps. 

Windows and Doors

Windows and doors might single-handedly be the biggest look into the structural integrity of a house. Because of that, we suggest checking the windows and doors very carefully. Make sure they open and close easily, and that they’re set at a 90-degree angle. 

Off-kilter framing could be a sign of dubious installation or it could mean that the foundation is compromised. These issues can be very expensive to repair and can pose a major headache for new homeowners. 

Water Damage & Mold

When major systems go haywire, one of the most obvious signs is discoloration in walls, floors, and ceilings, indicating water damage. Keep an eye out for rusty pipes and old plumbing fixtures that are on the brink, even if there’s no water damage yet. 

Be vigilant about checking for mold in walls, carpets, and ceilings, as mold can seriously threaten your family’s health and be costly to remove. 


Check that the property has good ventilation and an efficient, well-maintained heating and air conditioning system. 

Improper ventilation puts a property at major risk for mold and can cause other harmful effects to your health. Signs of bad ventilation include dust, musty smells, condensation, and peeling paint around the windows and doors.

Be observant and look for clues about the home and its maintenance history. Don’t wait for the inspector to tell you what’s wrong! 

The Power Of a Professional on Your Side

The process of buying a home can be overwhelming, especially when you’re having to time the sale of your current home so that you don’t move twice and you aren’t homeless! You have to do your research, inspect the property carefully, and adjust your expectations to the tailspin of a hot market. Having a trusted and experienced realtor to guide you through the process is critical. The Reynolds Team in Charleston, SC, is that trusted guide to moving up home buying in Charleston, SC. Take advantage of this hot seller’s market to get top dollar for your home and start searching for your dream home! Contact us today to learn more! Call 854-800-3100.