If you’re in the process of selling a home and buying your next one in Washington, DC, you’ll probably find yourself swooning over a house before taking a closer look. When house hunting, it’s likely that the properties you view are staged and spotless, and you may be ready to make a commitment solely based on their presentation! However, we often see that if you’re not vigilant during the home buying process, problems start cropping up after the keys are handed over. Luckily, many of these 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.
It’s a common trick of the trade for sellers in Washington, DC, to make an open house more inviting by lighting candles or using scented sprays. But be wary of places that have an unusually strong smell, as this could be a cover-up for a bad odor.
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!
It’s not uncommon for homeowners to take matters into their own hands and undertake a home renovation themselves, 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 Washington, DC, is a major red flag. 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 the place, your next home could be a money pit.
An idyllic stream might seem like a nice feature, but even a picturesque creek could 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 Washington, DC, homebuyers should use FEMA’s flood maps.
Lopsided Windows and Doors
Check the windows and doors 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 and Mold
You should look for any discoloration in walls, floors, and ceilings that could indicate 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.
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 Washington, DC, is that trusted guide to moving up home buying in Washington, DC. 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 202-759-1266.