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Common Red Flags To Look Out For When Purchasing A Home

Common Red Flags To Look Out For When Purchasing a Home

Have you ever fallen in love with a house only to realize there are far too many expenses that would go into making it a home? We’ve compiled a list of things to look out for when you are touring homes, that way you can be prepared for your inspection with any concerns. While your home inspector will find these things on their own, if they know you are concerned, they will spend more time explaining the issue, or possibly remedying your worry all together.


When you go on a tour of the home, don’t rush to get inside the property. Take a look at the house from the street. Are there shingles falling off? Can you see darkened areas or areas with puddling water? Is there a large tree looming over the roof? If so, this is definitely something to talk with your home inspector about.



Damp Patches or Water Damage

I have learned to always look at the basement of a house first (or second, if you count the roof.) The basement is where a lot of expensive fixes can be lurking. If the walls of the basement are damp or there is visible water damage, make note of these potential problems. 


On the other hand, if a previous homeowner has water proofed the basement, this could be an asset to the home, and a definite bonus.



A mess of tangled wires is a red flag that can be a warning signal to poor electrical engineering or an electrical DIY project from the previous owner. This can be a costly fix and a huge safety hazard.

Faulty Wiring or Aging Fuse Panel

If the fuse box in a house looks older, it may be an item that will need replaced after a couple years. If the home is older, this could also mean that the home will need rewired in the future. Since electrical engineering and the amount of electricity we use has changed in the last 20 years, this is something to pay attention to. 


A more obvious problem to look out for is tangled electrical wires. If the previous electrician did a subpar job, this could be both a safety hazard and a large expense if you purchase the home. 

Aging Furnace or Water Heater


If the furnace or water heater look like they could have been in Fred Flintstone’s home, this could be an expensive fix in the future. In the case of an aging furnace, the ductwork may also need to be replaced with the furnace, which adds to the overall cost of the repair. 

Cracked or Bowed Walls


Depending on the material of the walls, cracked or bowed walls can be a sign of numerous problems. Cracks in a wall can be indicative of water damage or structural issues, as well as the harmless settling of a home.


Vertical cracks are generally less concerning than horizontal cracks, or cracks that run at a 45 degree angle in a jagged line. If there is discoloration around the crack, that could be a sign of water damage.


If you see a crack in the wall that seems concerning, make sure to check it out with your home inspector.

This crack is particularly concerning. It is jagged and at an angle, which means it could be a sign of a deeper structural problem.

Garages and Sheds


If the property you are touring has a garage or shed, make sure to pay close attention to that structure. If the garage has roofing wear, large cracks in the cement, or aging walls, that may be a large expense in the future. 


It is also important to make sure that the structure is in accordance with the local building codes. Any time there is an addition to a home or another structure on the property, be sure to ask for documentation.

Decks and Porches


While on a recent inspection, as I was walking into a property, my foot fell through the floor of the front porch. Decks and porches are a wonderful way to add an outdoor space to a home, and add to the overall property value, but it is important that they are built property and are structurally sound. It is also important that the deck is built in compliance with the building codes of the city you are purchasing a home in.