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What to Look Out for Before You Buy a Home

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What to Look Out for Before You Buy a Home


Buying a home is a big proposition. In fact, it is probably the biggest investment you will ever make in your life. As such, you need to make sure that your purchase is a good one. 

But how do you ensure this? Are there things you should be looking out for before you buy a home? Yes, and we are going to discuss them right now in this home buying guide. 

A Crumbling Foundation

The most important part of any house is the foundation. As the foundation goes, so too does the rest of the house. As such, if the foundation is crumbling, you can expect the rest of the house to crumble right on top of it, costing you substantial amounts of money in repairs. 

For this reason, one of the first things you should look for when viewing a home is the state of its foundation. Is it cracked or crumbling in any areas? If so, it is probably more trouble than the home is worth. 

There are several other signs that can indicate a poor foundation as well. These signs include a cluster of weeds around the foundation, a damp crawl space, and cracks in the home's drywall, to name just a few. 

Coverup Aromas

Over time, homes can take on strong scents, some of which never leave. Whether it is a smokey scent stuck inside the home of a chronic smoker or a musty scent stuck inside the home of a dog owner, it can linger on in perpetuity, never quite leaving. 

Real estate agents are well aware of this and, when selling homes such as this, will utilize other, more pleasant aromas as a way of covering up the foul odors. As such, if you walk into a home for a viewing and notice that it is inundated with the aroma of cinnamon or apple or something else that is overly sweet, you should approach with caution. 

Yes, the seller could just be going the extra mile to make their house appealing to buyers. On the other hand, they could be using those pleasant aromas to mask unpleasant odors that are characteristic of the house. 

Keep an eye out for excess candles and scent plugins. And, when walking into each room, do your best to detect underlying odors. If you have to, get down on your hands and knees and smell the carpet; it sounds ridiculous, but it could save you from making a horrible purchase.

Uneven Flooring

Another thing you should look out for is uneven flooring. For instance, if there are gaps between the tiles, or if there are dips in the floor, alarm bells should go off in your head. 

Not only is uneven flooring undesirable in and of itself, but it is also often a sign that the home was remodeled by an amateur. This could be anyone from the previous owner of the home to a house flipper. In any case, it should make you question whether other aspects of the home possess shoddy workmanship. 

Purchasing a home such as this could work out for you; however, it is a large risk, one that you are better off avoiding entirely. 

Water Damage

One of the most worrying things you can come across inside of a house is water damage. If there are brown or white spots staining areas of drywall, the home has already experienced substantial water exposure and could be even more susceptible to it in the future. 

Make note, water damage is not a small problem. Quite the contrary, in fact; water damage can ruin entire rooms within a home, requiring complete teardowns and reconstructions. 

As such, if you notice any water damage whatsoever, you are advised to pass on the house completely. It might just seem like a minor nuisance at the moment. But it could turn into thousands of dollars worth of damage at any time. 

Close Proximity to Water

You may have always dreamed about purchasing a home next to a lake or river. Note, though, that it is not always what it seems. Sure, you may have beautiful views from the comfort of your home, but you also face the risk of flooding. 

For this reason, when searching for homes, we advise keeping an eye out on nearby water. Read up on whether the body of water is prone to flooding and decide whether this is really a good investment. 

Yes, there is flood insurance available; however, it can be expensive. Plus, if the home is too much of a flood risk, insurance companies might not allow you to cover it for flooding purposes. 

This is not to say that you should avoid water-adjacent properties entirely. But, if you are going to buy one, you should be sure to cover all of your bases. 

A Sense of Neglect

This one is a little more difficult to describe. It is more so something that you feel. It is a sense of neglect; a feeling that the current homeowner has not taken care of the home in the way that they were supposed to. 

There are a number of things that might cause this feeling to arise in you. For instance, if the grass is too long or if the hedges are not trimmed, you might experience something of a negative vibe. 

Or, maybe there are several burnt-out lightbulbs throughout the house. This could certainly cause you to become wary. 

Shabby DIY fixes can throw up red flags as well. After all, the owner of the home chose makeshift repairs over professional and high-quality ones. 

Now, you might second guess yourself. You might think that you are making much ado about nothing. But you should not question yourself on these sorts of matters. 

If that feeling is in your bones, it is there for a reason. It is there because something is, in fact, awry. 

And while these seemingly small signs of neglect might come across as inconsequential, it is important to remember that they are probably only the tip of the iceberg. Odds are, if these small things were neglected, then some big things were probably neglected too. You do not need that headache cropping up in a few years. 

Deteriorated Windows

You might think that windows are cheap, but a new set of windows can set you back several thousands of dollars. As such, when viewing prospective homes, it is important to determine whether their windows are still in good shape or not. 

Not only should you look at the windows to determine whether they are lopsided, cracked, or sagging, you should also open and close the windows and ensure that they do so with ease. 

If the windows have incurred physical damage or if they are difficult to open or close, they are almost certainly going to need to be replaced soon. Not to mention, a difficult-to-close window could be indicative of foundation troubles, something that would destroy your bank account. 

Now, bad windows are not necessarily a reason to turn a house down. You should use them as leverage when haggling over the sale price. You could have a few thousand dollars knocked off cost; you might even get the current homeowner to replace the windows before you move in. 


Our last piece of home buying advice is to keep an eye out for mold. Mold spells trouble on a few different fronts. Not only is it detrimental in and of itself but it is also a common sign of the existence of water. As such, if there is mold found in various areas throughout the house, it is likely because moisture is present on a regular basis. 

Getting rid of a mold infestation could cost you thousands of dollars. Fixing existing water damage could cost you even more, to the point that it is not even worth buying the house. 

Now, where can you most expect to find mold? The basement is an extremely common area for mold. You might also find it in the bathtubs, in the toilets, and under the sinks. 

Perhaps the most troubling area to find mold is on the drywall or inside of a cabinet. If there is mold present in one of these areas, it is likely indicative of a water leak or another similar problem. 

Do Your Due Diligence Before You Buy a Home

You should never take a home purchase lightly. There is a lot of money riding on this transaction, and you need to make sure you are getting a decent deal. In short, be sure to do your due diligence before you buy a home, and look out for the things discussed above. 

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