It’s hard to be picky as a shopper right now.
“Foundation issues are typically one of the most ‘deal’ situations when it comes to real estate, and for good reason,” said Matt Woods, co-founder and CEO of SOLD.com. “Neighborhoods can change and fixtures can be replaced, but it’s very expensive and difficult to fix problems with the foundation. Typically, these fixes are pretty temporary and buyers will find that when they’re in the seller’s position years later, their property isn’t worth as much as they hoped.”
Out of Code Plumbing or Wiring
Many older homes have cast iron plumbing or fabric electrical wiring, both of which do not meet current safety standards. On the same subject : Is the transportation industry ready to recover?.
“There are a bunch of things that will cost thousands to code and could cause your home to be uninsurable,” said Josh Steppling, a broker with Treasure Coast MLS Search.
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“Properties with a sagging roof have a structural problem, probably something with trusses or outdated stick framing,” said Kurt Grosse, Realty One Group Las Vegas realtor and former structural engineer. “Cut or modified trusses cause sag because the truss no longer holds the weight of the roof. Some people install rooftop air conditioners on the roof of an older home without reinforcing any framing. That’s scary because that huge air conditioner might crash through the roof one day. It is possible that sagging roof repairs will involve removing the entire roof and cladding to gain access.”
Septic Tank That Hasn’t Passed Inspection
Some states don’t require sellers to inspect their septic tanks before selling — but buyers should do their own inspection before making an offer, said AJ Pappas, a licensed real estate agent with The North Shore Realty Group in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. This may interest you : In depth: The future of food.
“If they don’t, they could face expensive repairs,” he said. “Depending on the ground and space and how the system was installed, it could run $25,000 to $75,000. This is something you might want to know before you buy, and if the seller hasn’t inspected it, I wouldn’t recommend just taking the risk, especially with an older home.”
Signs of a Pest Infestation
“When I see an overwhelming amount of mice or bat guano, I make sure to let my buyers know that it’s a process to get rid of these pests,” Pappas said. “Bats are protected and cannot be killed – there has to be a system that allows them to fly out. You have to build a bat house with nectar. This may interest you : Artificial photosynthesis can produce sunless food. Mice can be exterminated, but they keep coming back. Besides, the excrement is a health hazard.”
Evidence of Water Damage
Evidence of water damage – and evidence of an attempt to cover up water damage – should be a deal breaker. Pappas said to look for signs that a seller is trying to hide water damage: “Sometimes you find a can of Kilz [paint putty] and mismatched paint on the ceiling. Sometimes you see the studs in the basement and it looks like a water line.”
Water damage is a real estate deal because “moisture equals mold, which is a major health hazard,” Pappas said.
A Neighborhood You Don’t Like
Buying a home isn’t like renting where you’re allowed to move every year or so, so it’s important to buy in a neighborhood where you can see yourself living for years to come.
“Place! Place! Place! It’s the old saying but it’s really true – not just for home values, but for quality of life,” said Phil Greely, a licensed real estate agent with Sold Simple Seattle. “If you love the home but can’t stand living in that particular neighborhood, you must go.”
Some neighborhood deals can include limited access to amenities, public transportation, schools and grocery stores, and high crime rates, said Kevin Bazazzadeh, founder of Brilliant Day Homes.
Underground Oil Tank
“Some older houses have underground oil tanks in the backyard [which] can develop into a liability if left unattended,” said Mitchell G. David, realtor and founder of Beach Life Ocean City. “They start leaking when they rust and when they start leaking, problems start.”
Upgrades Done Without a Permit
“If you’re in negotiations with a seller whose home has been remodeled and they don’t have the permits, then I would think twice before proceeding,” said Nicky Taveras, owner of DNT Home Buyers. “If a home has been modified to add a bathroom or tear down a wall, permits will probably be required. If the city where you live decides to pay you a visit, they will definitely notice that you have a modified home and check for permits. They will then tell you do one of two things – either apply for the permits or undo the whole job. If you don’t want the headache of having to go through all that trouble, then it’s best to leave.”
Natural Hazard Risk
“Is the property located in a flood zone, earthquake zone, landslide zone, fire zone or near any hazardous waste site? These factors add risk to your purchase and could significantly affect your future resale value,” said Megan Micco, real estate expert and broker for the San -Francisco Bay with Compass.
Future Local Development
Be aware of any development that is happening near your potential home.
“If, for example, the home you’re considering buying has a view of the ocean and there’s a lot between you and the view, future development could block your view and devalue your property,” Micco said. “It’s worth researching zoning regulations in your neighborhood and checking any future development permits approved by the city to see if you’re at potential risk. Of course, you can’t always know what the future will bring, but a little advance research can save you headaches later.”