Both seasoned and first time buyers can experience several pitfalls in the home buying process. Buyers should not assume that sellers are upfront and should be aware of commonly glossed over shortcomings when shopping for the perfect house.
While it is assumed that homeowners are honest when signing disclosures pertaining to their properties, it is not completely outside the realm of possiblity that someone could be tempted to lie or "forget" some pertinent information. A large number of real estate lawsuits stem from the fact that home owners misrepresent their properties.
Lang Premier Properties suggests five commonly hidden defects and how you can detect them during your house hunting process:
1. - The H20 Factor.
Be on the lookout for water stains. They aren't just unattractive spots to be painted over. They can be indicative of leaks and mold or past water damage. Such signs can be easily concealed by strategically placed boxes or decor, so it is important be aware of what might be underneath a pile of luggage or storage bins. You must seek the homeowners permission prior to moving belongings, however you do not need permission to shine a flashlight underneath furniture or inside dark closets or corners. Do not be afraid to request the removal of a large piece of furniture or picture frame in order to see what lies beneath.
Homeowners are often tempted to conceal water damage with fresh coats of paint. Ask the homeowner or listing real estate agent about the last time the home was painted. If the home has been recently painted, this could be a sign that something is being concealed. If the home was paint a year ago, you are probably safe.
2. - Oil tank in the backyard.
Homes prior to 1975 were known to run on oil. Homeowners were known to house large oil takns in their basements or underground in their backyards to conserve space and preserve asthetic beauty. If you discover an oil tank on a property in which you are interested in making an offer, be aware that oil contaminates soil and it is incrediby costly to remove, therefore some homeowners will try to conceal any evidence of the former presence of an oil tank. While carousing the backyard, be on the lookout for a small fill pipe poking up from the ground. Look for lose patches of grass as this could be evidence of an oil tank's presence. You could always ask the seller if the home was heated with oil in the past.
3. - Shake, shake, shake!
Check for uneven paint jobs around door frames and windows. Is the paint job covering any cracks in the walls? If so, you may have stumbled over a problem with the coundation. Foundation problems are not only dangerous, they are extremely costly to repair. Weak foundations can prevent cabinet doors from closing, supporting beams to snap, and can result in low home appraisals effecting loans and resale values. Make sure to note whether you feel that you are walking at an incline or decline. Even a slight variation can indicate an issue with the foundation.
4. - Nightmare neighbors.
Perhaps you have zeroed in on the house of your dreams and you are just about ready to make an offer. Consider driving through the nieghborhood at night and on the weekends. Check for barking dogs, lingering teenagers, car horns, parties, and other unpleasantness. Homeowners will try to downplay common neighborhood annoyances with well-timed open houses and showings. While homeowners are obligated to disclose these neighborhood nuisances, they may even go so far as to request fellow neighbors to tone it down during showings. In addition, homeowners are often used to their surroundings and the thought of mentioning something that might be annoying to a newcomer may simply slip their minds. Don't hesitate to talk with locals who can provide a more objective opinion of a specific neighborhood or street.
5. - Hot, cold, warm, boiling...
When touring a home, try to take note of any temperature fluctuations. Perhaps the master suite was rather toasty, however the bathroom forecast called for snow. If you notice a shift in atmosphere, ask the owner about the seasonal effects of room temperatures. Such fluctuations could be attributed to poor insulation, sometimes as a result of added additions performed without pulling the appropriate permits, resulting in heat not being properly conducted throughout the home.
If you'd like to learn more about how to properly detect hidden home defects, please don't hesitate to message Lang Premier Properties online or call us at 1-855-526-4466.