Warning Signs to Look For Before Buying a Home

Better safe than sorry

By Lolly Spindler of HouseHunt.com.

It’s important to know everything you can about a house before you buy, but what if you have an untrained eye? Although you will need to hire a professional home inspector before moving forward with a purchase, there are some things you can check out yourself before determining if you want to seriously consider buying a home.


The following mini-inspection should be performed during a private home tour, not during an open house. Only once you’ve done your first walk-through and decided that this house is in the running should you start checking for potential problems.


  • Pull back the carpet. Many homes will have a section in the closet peeled back already. Look for this, and check out what kind of flooring the carpeting is covering.


  • Open windows. Make sure all windows are fully functional, check out the views, and listen for any noise filtering into the house once the windows are open.


Scope out the neighbors when buying a home

  • Scope out the neighbors. This can be done during the private home tour or at another time. In fact, the best time to check out neighborhood activity is during after work hours or on the weekend. If possible, talk to the neighbors next door to the home you’re considering.



  • Flush toilets and run faucets. If there is a problem with any of these fixtures, repairs may be cheap, but also potentially quite messy.


  • Taste the water. Although water will primarily be coming from the city rather than a local well, funky plumbing can drastically affect the taste of it. A bad taste may mean costly repairs.


If the home in questioning passes your initial inspection, feel free to move forward with the buying process. Remember, after an offer is mutually accepted, the inspection period usually lasts seven to 15 days. This is when you’ll want an accredited home inspector to formally inspect the property.


Furthermore, although sellers are legally obligated to disclose known problems with a house, some issues fall into a grey area. Here’s an additional list of things to look out for before getting serious about making an offer.


  • Lead

  • Toxic materials

  • Off-site conditions (treatment plants, etc.)

  • Natural hazards

  • History of repairs

  • Water damage

  • Mold

  • Termites and pests

  • Death

  • Square footage

  • Plumbing

  • Flight path

  • Noise pollution

  • Legal issues (clouds on the title, etc.)

  • Neighbors

  • HOA


Hopefully you’ll be working with an honest seller who is well-guided, informed, and discloses all known issues with the property. However, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, so do your homework!

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://imagineyourhouse.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Lolly-Spindler.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]This is a guest post by Lolly Spindler, a writer with HouseHunt.com where she writes about the Real Estate world for both consumers and agents. [/author_info] [/author]

By Lolly Spindler

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  • Kim Hanson

    This is great. The additional list of things you provided was nice. I hope that a good real estate dealer can help you in buying quality homes without any issues.

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