The thought of buying a home can be both tremendously exciting and daunting at the same time. It’s easy to get wound up in the emotional side of things and feel overjoyed when the right property comes along, but it is terribly important to make a calm, rational decision and not to overlook any red flags that may pop up. Whether you’re buying a free standing home, an investment property, an apartment or a holiday home, there are certain important things you should be aware of before signing on the dotted line.
Red Flag 1: Foundation or Structural Faults
The foundation is arguably a building’s most important structure, so it makes sense that, should it be damaged, it will be one of the most expensive to repair. Minor, surface cracks are generally nothing to be alarmed about as they sometimes occur as a house is settling, but larger cracks can be a sign of structural problems within the foundation and should be scrutinised.
Red Flag 2: Faulty Wiring
Faulty electrical wiring can result in your dream home going up in smoke, so it’s worth investigating any wiring that looks out of place or damaged. Newer homes tend to have more electrical points and competent electrical systems, compared to older homes, and thus you’re less likely to find exposed wires or multiple extension leads which may overload the electrical system. Be on the lookout for wires that look out of place and if in doubt enlist the services of an electrician or home inspections company. It is mandatory that all properties sold must have a VALID COC (Certificate of Compliance) always verify the credentials of the company that has done the inspection if you suspect something does not look right.
Red Flag 3: Fresh Paint
In fairness, many sellers spruce up their homes with a fresh coat of paint, but it’s important to discern between a cosmetic face-lift and a bypass! Patches of fresh paint, in particular, are a cause to investigate and see if they’re hiding damp, cracks or other problems. Question the estate agent on any irregular looking surfaces and colour differences.
Red Flag 4: Inefficient Drainage and Leaks
The majority of water problems which occur in a home are a result of poor drainage or grading of ground cover , patio’s etc. and roof’s.
A good look around the property during the day will allow you to spot any pools of water or damp areas. Proper grading will result in water run-off leading away from the home’s foundation and not pooling against it.
Geyser and roof leaks can also be a great cause for concern, so check the ceiling boards for mould and take note of the general condition of the roof and gutters.
Red Flag 5: Neighbourhood Deterioration
If the neighbourhood is on a downward trend, you may pick up the property at a reduced rate, but be sure to go in with eyes wide open. Take a look at crime statistics and see if there are many vacant or boarded-up properties. If you have doubts about the area, take a drive through during the day, at night and also on a Friday and Saturday night. This should give you a glimpse of what to expect should you purchase a home in that area.
At the end of the day, if you love the home, there will be things that you’re willing to fix and others you won’t. It is important to make an informed decision and make sure any repairs to be done are reflected in the offer to purchase prior to transfer by the owner, you should do the inspection in person and never take it for granted that this ‘Subject to’ has been done.
Dealing with an ethical estate agency is your first line of defense: a reputable company with agents who won’t try to pull the wool over your eyes or turn a blind eye to problems. At Platinum Century Property we pride ourselves in our integrity and transparent dealings with both our buyers and sellers.
We are happy to go the extra mile to ensure that this is a seamless process with very little stress and both parties conclude the deal smiling.