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Red Flags When Buying a Home


Buying a home requires a large investment and the process can take 30 or more days to complete depending on the readiness of the buyer and the seller. During the time between an offer and closing, a home inspection, an assessment of the physical condition of the home, can be conducted to identify potential problems that require attention. Minor problems identified in a home inspection can be negotiated with the seller before closing to be fixed or replaced. Conversely, major problems identified in a home inspection may result in the need for a counter-offer based on the cost of repairs or, if there is a contingency clause in the contract, the buyer may withdraw the offer before expiration.

Foundation Issues

The structural integrity of a home lies in its foundation. Foundation repairs can pose great risks to a home and can be costly. As such, a structural engineer should be hired to inspect the home and to assess any dangers. Indications of foundation issues can be visible in exterior wall cracks, interior wall cracks, and floor cracks. These cracks result from pressure on the foundation due to aging and foundation shifts. Mold and mildew result from excess moisture in a home and can damage the structure. Additionally, mold and mildew can be caused by foundation issues, and can create health problems as well as attract unwanted pests.

Electrical Issues

A home inspector will check to ensure all lights, outlets, and appliances are working. Faulty wiring or electrical cable issues can be signs of major problems that require repair by a licensed electrician. Flickering lights can be a sign of a loose connection or the problem may be in the breaker box or the service drop outside of a home. The smell of plastic burning is a sure sign of an electrical issue that must be remedied immediately to avoid the risk of fire. Loose outlets can result in shorts and sparks and pose a fire hazard. Furthermore, chew marks on wires can indicate rodent activity that can leave wires exposed and cause them to spark or overheat.

Roof Issues

Missing shingles or multiple layers of shingles are a sign that a roof needs to be replaced. Some roofs never receive proper maintenance and others have simply aged which can lead to poor roof conditions. Because not all roofs are pitched to allow for proper drainage, ponding can result and lead to major roof leaks which can cause mold growth inside a home. A sagging roof can be an indication of a structural issue that should be examined by a professional roofing contractor. If available in the property disclosures, the age of the current roof should be reviewed to determine if the roof is reaching the end of its life span, as this can equate to a large expenditure needed near the time of purchase.

While colors and textures can help draw a buyers’ eyes to the attractive attributes of a home, a home inspector can determine the overall condition of a home and its major systems. Findings from the home inspector’s report should then be used to make an informed purchase decision.

Personal – Homebuying and Refinancing

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This article contains general information only. Sunflower Bank is not, by means of this article, rendering accounting, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. This article is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, before making any decisions related to these matters, you should consult a qualified professional advisor.