15 Red Flags to Look Out For When Buying a House

January 14, 2022



Red Flags to Look Out For When Buying a House - Clera Windows + Doors

When you think about what to look for when buying a house, you might think of general specifications such as the location of the house, the size of the house, the design, the number of bathrooms, and so on. However, the list doesn’t end here. You’ll also keep an eye out for red flags.  By proactively looking for red flags when buying a house, you can ensure that you’re making a worthy investment. To help you on your journey, this article talks about what to look for when buying a house, in terms of red flags. Let’s begin!

Red Flags To Look Out For When Buying A House - Clera Windows + Doors

What to Look For When Buying a House: First Impressions

1. The House Has Been For Sale For a Long Time

First on our list of what to look for when buying a house is how long the house has been on the market. If a house has been on the market for 20, 40, or 60 days or so, it’s not yet a cause for concern. However, be alert when considering properties that have been on the market for months or years. This could be a sign that there is an underlying problem with the property that wards off many buyers – whether it’s extensive repairs, an unpleasant history, a problem with the deed, and so on.  

2. Almost Everyone in the Neighbourhood is Selling

There could be a number of reasons why this is so, including rising crime rates, frequently occurring natural disasters, or future residential or commercial buildings being built that devalue the home’s property value. Doing your own independent research will be beneficial in this kind of scenario.  

3. A House Priced Way Below Market Value

If a deal looks like it’s too good to be true, it might not be a good deal in the first place. So if you are interested in a house that is priced way below its market value, be on high alert for any expensive-to-fix issues that the house might have.You may also want to dig into the history of the house because a history of crime occuring in the house can also lower its price.  

House Priced Way Below Market Value - Clera Windows + Doors

Red Flags to Look for While Viewing the House

4. Water Stains on the Walls and Ceilings

For a wall or ceiling to be stained it means that the wall is or has been exposed to moisture. This moisture could be from a plumbing leak or it could be leaking from the outside. Either way, this could lead to costly (and/or urgent) repairs concerning water damage and/or the home’s plumbing.

5. Newly Painted Walls

Most of the time, when a house goes on the market, a fresh coat of paint on walls is to be expected. However, in some cases, this could be a way to conceal water damage or other forms of damage to the walls. When in doubt, ask about the home’s plumbing and feel the walls for yourself. Water-damaged walls will feel uneven or brittle.

6. Doors and Windows That Won’t Close

This problem can be due to the swelling of wooden components amidst high humidity or due to a problem with the hardware. These are simple fixes. However, doors and windows that won’t close can also be due to a shifting foundation. If this is the root of the problem you are also likely to see cracks forming around the house. Major repairs for a shifting foundation could cost $10,000 or more – so it really pays to be on high alert for this kind of problem.

7. Cracks In the Basement

Though most basement walls and floors have cracks, watch out for cracks that point to structural problems. In general, these cracks are larger and usually run in a horizontal or diagonal direction.

8. A Basement Without Waterproofing On Zero Lot-Line Properties

If you have ever dreamed of having your basement fully waterproofed and converted into a living space, then you may need to rethink getting a zero-lot-line property – especially if it isn’t waterproofed during construction. Because this type of house doesn’t have excavation space around it, exterior waterproofing can never be installed into the property.

9. Outdated Plumbing

Old plumbing systems can pose problems like water discolouration and reduced water pressure. In addition, the cost of repiping an old house is around $8,000 or more. Therefore, the kind of plumbing and the age of the plumbing are definitely included in what to look for when buying a house.

10. External Roof Damage

Major repairs to the roof can cost around $1,500 to $7,000. Therefore, make sure to ask about the roof and what damages you’ll need to fix (if any) once you assume ownership of the house.

11. Sagging Ceiling

A sagging ceiling is usually a sign that the external roof is not able to keep precipitation out. Though the repair for the ceiling is relatively less expensive (around $400 to $1,500), it is usually a hint that further repairs are needed on the external roof as well, which then multiplies the cost.  

12. DIY House Extensions

Be wary of house extensions that have been made with a DIY approach. Not only are these potentially dangerous, but the people who did the DIY extensions may have also violated building codes in the process.

13. A Musty Smell

A musty smell can point to a variety of infestations, whether it’s mould, termites, or worse. If the house is set up with a lot of scented diffusers or incense sticks, it could be done to mask the musty smell. In which case, you may need to look for other signs such as visible mould or termite droppings near walls.

14. A Termite Infestation

A termite infestation is challenging to deal with. These insects can, over time, affect the structural integrity of your walls and floors. Before looking at a house, familiarize yourself with what termite droppings look like, then look for these near the walls of the house. You can also knock on the walls to see if they are solid. In severe infestations, you may hear the movement of termites from within the walls.

15. The Little Things That Add Up

Lastly, it’s important to also consider the “not-as-urgent changes” you’d like to get done once the house is yours. These could include repainting the house, changing the light fixtures, replacing sump pumps, upgrading the leaky windows for energy efficiency, and more. These may not cost as much as the major urgent repairs we’ve covered but these can also add up. Make a list of things you’d like to change while viewing the house so that you can consider the total cost later on.  

Your Green Flag in All Things Windows and Doors

That wraps up our extensive guide on what to look for when buying a house. If you’re thinking of updating the windows and doors of a house you’re looking to buy, we’re here to help you through the entire process. With over 41+ industry experience, we at Clera Windows + Doors, have helped in the transformation of hundreds of homes. Our doors and windows are designed to have it all – stylish designs, energy-saving features, and durability.If you would like to learn more about what we can do for your new home, contact our friendly team today!

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