Buying a home is one of the most significant investments that most people make in their lifetime. Before spending thousands of dollars on a down payment, knowing what to look for and what to avoid before you make a long-term commitment is vital. Here are some of the most important red flags to look for when buying a house, so you can be sure you’re making a sound investment.

Issues with the Foundation

A home is only as good as its foundation, so visible cracks and other signs of damage are certainly something to be wary of before making an offer on a property. According to many real estate agents, cracks in a basement, slab, or another type of foundation can indicate that the property has expensive structural problems

Foundation considerations vary depending on what type of property you’re buying. There are many differences between detached houses and condos, including financial obligations for maintenance responsibilities. People who own a single-family home are fully responsible for foundation damage, whereas condo owners would share the expense with other tenants via community fees.

In any case, buyers should always schedule a professional home inspection before making an offer on a home. Not only will this help you pinpoint possible problems, but it could also give you more power at the negotiating table when making an offer or signing a contract. An inspection will examine not only the foundation but also the roof and other vital parts of the property.

Flood Risks

If a piece of property is located in an official flood zone, it can mean serious problems for buyers. Homes in certain high flood-risk areas may need separate flood insurance to protect the property and the bank’s financial interests. Here are some reasons why homes in areas with a higher risk of flooding are a serious red flag.

  • Many homes in areas with high flood-risk zones have higher mortgage application denials and withdrawal rates.
  • Unlike floods, homes in other high-risk areas like fire, drought, and other storms tend to have little or no impact on mortgage lending.
  • If a property is in a high flood risk zone, its value may decrease.
  • Buyers who purchase a home in a designated flood zone must pay for additional flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.
  • Flood damage can make a home uninhabitable and cost homeowners excessive money to fix.

The Seller Won’t Allow an Inspection

As a buyer, you’re not legally obligated to pay for a home inspection, although it’s highly recommended that you do so. However, a severe red flag is when the seller denies the buyer the opportunity to get an inspection. A home inspector will check the property’s central systems and components for any signs of wear and tear or damage and compile the findings in a report for the buyer.

If a seller won’t allow an inspection, the buyer should consider walking away from the deal. Buyers have a right to know what condition a home is in before making an offer. Sellers who deny this right may hide serious problems they don’t want buyers to know about until the deal is closed.

Mold, Mildew, or Insects

Signs of mold or mildew can indicate underlying water damage, which can cost buyers a lot of money to repair. While not all mold is necessarily toxic, inhaling some mold spores can contribute to various health problems, including headaches, respiratory issues, or other illnesses. Look underneath sinks and appliances as well as in crawl spaces and basements for signs of mold and mildew.

Ongoing leaks or plumbing issues may cause problems like rotting wood or structural issues you can’t see immediately. An insect problem is another red flag for buyers to be aware of. Signs of severe insect infestations can lead to significant damage to a home. In some states, a termite inspection and certificate are required. If termites are found, the seller must fix the problem and treat the home before the deal can go through.

Beware of Red Flags Before Buying a Home

From cracks in a foundation to being in a flood zone to moldy ceilings and insects, remember these red flags to watch out for when buying a house. Speaking to an experienced real estate professional is essential if you need help navigating the home-buying process. Once you know what to look for and what to avoid, you can confidently move forward with the home-buying process.