We’ve all heard it, whether it pertains to investing in the stock market, buying a car or a house: “Caveat emptor,” or “Let the buyer beware.”
Houses have problems, even newly built houses. The problem is that many of these problems can’t be seen and are therefore not obvious to even the professional home inspector. Some of the larger problems, however, leave clues, so let’s take a look at some of these red flags.
Plumbing System Red Flags
Low water pressure could be a sign of a problem as simple as a water softener requiring service, or as complicated as a leak somewhere in the plumbing lines. If the low pressure only occurs when the hot water is on, it may be an indication of a problem with the water heater.
Use the tip of your toes to press on the floor around the toilet. If it feels soft and squishy, the toilet may be leaking. In a two-story home, check the ceiling below the bathroom for water stains – a sign that the shower may have sprung a leak.
Electrical System Red Flags
Older homes are notoriously troubled with electrical problems. Outdated wiring is common and is an expensive fix. Flick all the switches in the home to ensure they’re operating. Fell the outside of electrical outlets ― if they feel warm, the wiring may be old.
Is the Floor Waving a Red Flag?
While sloped floors are common and perhaps even charming in historic homes, in a modern home they may be either a sign of normal settling or a symptom of foundation problems.
“For homes on slab foundation, crawl space, or basement, wavy and uneven flooring should be a red flag to the buyer,” caution the experts at Brackett Foundation Repair in Durham, North Carolina.
Expect to pay from $2,100 to over $13,000 for foundation repairs, say the folks with Centex Foundation Repair in Central Texas. “. . . so far this year our average price of repairs has been $5,646.65,” they claim.
Red flags need not kill a real estate deal, but they should let you know that something isn’t right and needs inspection by a professional. Before making the hefty investment in the purchase of any home, spend the money necessary to remedy your discomfort over any warning signs.