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15 Red Flags for Home Buyers to Look Out For

  • June 9, 2017
  • By Cody Battershill

Buying a Home in Calgary? Watch Out for These Red Flags!Your guide to buying a condo in Calgary

If you’re thinking about buying a home and are using a real estate agent to help you along with the process, it’s likely they’ll recommend getting a professionally done home inspection. Also see Why You Should Use a REMAX Real Estate Agent.

After all, making such a large financial commitment should never be taken lightly and you need to know what exactly may be wrong with the house in question before making any decisions.

Unfortunately, home inspections are sometimes costly ($300 to $500 a pop), therefore if you can recognize some red flags in a home without the need of an inspector, you can save a few bucks!

Here are some of the most apparent red flags you should keep an eye out for as a home buyer when viewing a home.

#1 – Foundation issuescracked foundation home falling earthquake

Issues with the foundation of a home aren’t common, but when they do happen they can be a huge hassle for the home owner. As a home buyer, it’s a huge red flag!

Take your time to look for:

  • Doors and windows that won’t shut properly
  • Visual cracks in the basement concrete foundation or walls of the house
  • Chipped concrete in the basement foundational walls
  • Walls that seem to be bulging or leaning one way or the other
  • Uneven or cracked floors

I personally know some people who've noticed problems with the foundation after purchase and while reparations were made, they still had to pay thousands out of their own pocket to fix the problem interim before legal matters settled.

#2 – Discoloured walls or roofs inside

If you notice stains inside of the home, it’s likely an indication of water leaking inward from the outside or possibly an ice dam that has wedged itself through the home’s exterior.

Meanwhile, water stains on the roof of the main floor with a floor above may be indicative of leaking pipes within a homes substructure.

#3– Moss growths home buyer tips moss roof red flags to look out for

Chances are you’re not going to see moss growths in 99 percent of homes you visit as a buyer. However, keep a lookout for moss in dark, moist areas and on the roof of a home.

Moss in small amounts can often be removed without worry; it’s when large patches develop it becomes a concern. Large deposits on a roof can trap moisture inside roof shingles and cause water to force its way into your home as a result.

Heavy moss on a rooftop may be an indicator of a leaking roof of which is a huge red flag for home buyers.

#4 – Mould growths

If you notice a wall somewhere inside a home that looks damp, you’ll want to consider peeking into the attic and basement to further investigate the possibility of mould growths.

Mould can be extremely hazardous to you and your family’s health and in some cases is extremely costly to the home owner to remove.

#5 – Missing / deformed shingles

Missing shingles is a tell-tale sign of improperly installed roof shingles, while curled shingles likely indicate old age and may need to be replaced soon.

A full roof replacement is not cheap and may just be the home buyer red flag you need to veer off elsewhere.

#6 – Uneven / sagging shinglesHome Maintenance roof shingles tiles

This could be an indication that the supports underneath the roof are sagging and have been damaged by weathering due to water exposure.

Where there’s water inside of a home’s structure, there’s also a chance of rotting wood.

#7 - Cleanliness

In general, the cleanliness of a prospective home tells you how well its been kept over the years.

Make sure to look at the insides of drawers, closets and other closed-off spaces to see just how clean a space really is.

If these spaces are dirty, the work required for clean-up after buying could be a small but deciding red flag.

#8 – Rotted wood

We touched on rotted wood briefly, but if you see rotting wood anywhere on a property its usually because of a lack of due care and attention and result in other problems like mould or insect infestation.

On the inside of the home, inspect the kitchen, bathroom and mudroom areas; outside, check the deck, trim and eaves.

#9 – Funny smellsHome selling tips - smelly odours

Bad or disgusting smells are a big red flag for home buyers.

If a smell is too strong to mask during a showing, you may want to ask yourself where it’s coming from?

Could there be mould or another characteristic of the home that’s causing it?

#10 – Insects and pests

Unfortunately, insects and pests don’t know the law and will not move out of a home once you buy it.

If you notice a stream of ants, for example, in the basement, chances are there’s a breach in the home’s exterior for them to enter and exit.

Rodent infestation is even worse as in some cases they can severely damage the interior structure of a home if left unchecked.

#11 – Filled-in patches of drywall

Notice a patch of drywall that’s been noticeably replaced and painted over? Ask the home seller why! If there’s no clear answer at the time, you may want to do some investigation. Was or is there a leak in the piping?

#12 – Maintenance issues home maintenance man air conditioner changing filter red flags buyers

If there are indications that may lead you to believe a home has not been well taken care of over the years, proceed with caution!

Some of these could include:

  • Broken windows, unsealed caulking along frames
  • Rotten wood on the deck and / or patio
  • Peeling paint on surfaces
  • Poorly maintained home exterior
  • Poorly maintained landscape
  • Cracked concrete driveway or steps

A lack of maintenance could come with a flurry of problems, which is why it’s usually recommended to take care of your property as a home owner over the long-term to boost resale value.

Any one or combination of these could be the home buyer red flag you need to look elsewhere

#13 - Exterior cracks

Leave no questions unanswered when examining the exterior of a property. Some questions could include:

  • What's up with the cracked brick on the front of the home?
  • Why is there a part of the backside of the home displaying a distinct crack running down past the ground line?
  • What about the crack in the concrete stairs leading up to the front door?

#14 – Inadequate ventilation

Proper ventilation helps eliminate moisture and keep a home clean and fresh.

Try peeking into the attic to see if there’s adequate insulation lined on its floor.

If so, this should mean that the home has the intense heat of the sun escape from the attic space in the summer and moisture evaporation is occurring properly rather than being held inside the home and damaging interior structural elements.

#15 – Inadequate drainage Fall Cleanup - Leaves in Gutter

Always check to see where drain pipes connected to the eavestrough of a home are located.

Inadequate drainage are huge red flags for home buyers as it can lead to water intrusion in basements, crawl spaces and garages and compromise the foundation while potentially causing other problems as a result.

Extra: A quiet neighbourhood?

Just because a home’s curb appeal is hard to look away from doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a long, hard look down the street.

  • Are neighbouring homes and businesses occupied?
  • What are their condition?
  • Is there enough families living near to foster a good atmosphere?

If everyone else decided to make a run for it, maybe you should consider it too. Just make sure you ask neighbours and do a thorough investigation before making a bad investment.

More Home Buyer GuidesCalgary Home Condo Realtor Calgary

Questions about Buying a Home in Calgary?

get the best advice cody battershill remax real estate agent calgary alberta

As a top-producing REMAX agent in Canada (2013, 2014, 2015h) with over a decade of experience, I promise to provide only the best service, advice and representation while taking care of all your real estate needs.

Call me anytime at 403-370-4180 or message me below for a prompt response. I am looking forward to helping you accomplish your real estate plans in Calgary! Satisfaction Guaranteed Remax Calgary

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Category: Blog, Buying Tips