When you begin your Brooklyn home search, you are full of excitement. You imagine yourself comfortably settled into your new home. The thrill of knowing you have achieved the American dream of homeownership is exhilarating.
You have found the home with the right number of bedrooms, baths, and a backyard that will be able to host a professional football game. You have mentally placed your furniture in every room of the house. It is understandable that you would be excited.
Purchasing a home is one of the most significant investments you will make. Protect your investment by watching for red flags along the way to ensure you are investing wisely.
It is easy to disregard some issues when your desire to own the home is at its peak level. I often hear buyers say, “that isn’t a big deal. We can take care of it after we move in.”
Before you dismiss a potential red flag, be sure you know what is involved. The issue may seem easy to remedy but have a more costly underlying problem. Unless you are an experienced contractor, it may be more than you can handle on your own. Hiring professionals to handle these large jobs can eat into your savings very quickly.
Red flags may arise in the home, the yard, or the neighborhood. Familiarize yourself with the area to learn what is happening in the community as an essential step in your Brooklyn home search.
Now is not a time to ditch your homework. As concerns arise, be sure to research to get to the bottom of the issue. You may need to have the seller clarify something, check with the local police department for crime statistics, or visit city hall to check on a building permit.
The interior of the home is usually the first place you investigate on your Brooklyn home search. You may find these red flags on your initial visit to the house.
- Doors that won’t close can be an indication that the framing has shifted. Sometimes homeowners will trim doors to close correctly but not fix the problem that caused the shifting in the first place. Ask the seller if they ever had a professional evaluate the situation.
- You may see or smell mold in areas of the home. All mold isn’t toxic, but it needs remediated. Mold needs moisture to grow. An undetected leak may be creating the issue. Check under sinks, around windows, and basements or crawl spaces for any indications of a leak.
- Water stains can also indicate a leak somewhere. Even if the leak hasn’t caused mold to grow, a leak can cause wood to rot over time.
- A do-it-yourself addition may be a potential problem. Many homeowners can handle repairs around the home, but adding a structure is not a job for an unskilled homeowner. Check to see that the homeowner obtained the proper permits and the municipality performed any required inspections during the building process.
- Foundation cracks can be normal settling, or they can be a serious foundation issue. Look for cracks that seem to be patched or are wider than a ½ inch. It would be wise to have a foundation contractor or structural engineer look if you have concerns.
- Be wary of the strong smell of air fresheners. Is the homeowner trying to camouflage something? Is the carpet smelling of pet urine or cigarette smoke? Are there air fresheners in every room?
- Are the heating and air conditioning systems aging? The average life of a furnace is 15-18 years, and the average life of an A/C unit is 10-12 years. Although the unit may be functioning, it may not have a long useful life and may be less efficient.
- Sloping floors could relate to a foundation issue. There may be some normal settling that occurs as the home ages. However, a more serious structural problem could result in a costly repair.
- Sagging ceilings can be the result of roof leaks or structural issues. You should investigate the cause of the problem before purchasing the home.
- Fresh paint where it would seem to be out of place. It isn’t unusual for the seller to paint a room to neutralize their bold color choices. If the painting seems localized to one wall or spot on a wall, it should be questioned. For instance, the seller may try to hide a water stain by spot painting that area only.
- Active insect infestations can seem harmless and easily remedied with a phone call to your local exterminator. But, some types of wood-boring insects like termites and carpenter bees can do some serious damage to the foundation, walls, or floors of the home.
- Incomplete disclosures can be an indication of issues. Disclosures can be lengthy. If there are many questions left unanswered, be sure to get clarification from the sellers.
Your home inspector will catch most of these red flags during the home inspection. If you see something concerning you should ask the inspector to take a closer look. The cost of the home inspection is well worth the peace of mind you will receive.
You may also uncover some red flags outside of the home.
- Lack of attic ventilation can be a severe issue. Intake vents should be visible under the roof eaves, and exhaust vents should be located along the roof’s ridge. An attic needs to be appropriately vented to prevent heat build-up in the summer that can damage the roof decking or shingles.
- The condition of the roof shingles can indicate a future replacement which is a major ticket item. If the shingles are curled, missing, or you can see exposed nail heads, the roof may need to be replaced sooner than later.
- Improper drainage in the yard can cause standing water. If the water puddles around the foundation, it can cause some issues. There should be a minimum of a 2 percent grade from the house. The puddles in the yard can cause soil erosion, not to mention a real mess if you have pets to let outside.
A home inspector will check the exterior of the home, but if it isn’t a rainy day, they may not see there is an issue with standing water. (I like showing homes on rainy days because you can learn a lot about the yard and foundation when it is raining.)
Some red flags are revealed before you even visit the home through the marketing of the property.
- Terms in the property description referring to “as-is condition,” “needs TLC,” or “fixer-upper” can mean the seller knows there are problems and doesn’t want to deal with them. When you purchase a home under these terms, you are assuming the cost for repairs. A home inspection would still be a good idea to determine the extent of the issues and whether or not you should purchase the home.
- In our most recent real estate market, if the home has been on the market for an extended time, there may be an issue with the house. It could also be that the seller set their initial asking price too high, and there is nothing physically wrong with the house. Buyers become skeptical when a home doesn’t sell in the average marketing time.
- When the house is priced below other homes in the neighborhood, you might have some concern. Ask questions and do your research on a bargain-basement-priced home. Don’t waive inspections on a home that may have some serious issues.
- No interior pictures on the property listing can be a red flag. The listing agent can easily take photos with their smartphones instead of professional photos. If a home is on the market for a week or longer without interior photos, I would want to know why.
- Buying directly from a For Sale By Owner sounds like it may save you money. Having the proper representation during your Brookly home search can save you money. A real estate transaction can be complex. Having an experienced professional guiding you through the steps is priceless.
The final place to look for red flags is neighborhood and municipality.
- Have a lot of homes recently sold or are for sale in the neighborhood? That could indicate a problem such as rising crime rates, increased commercial spaces, or proposed environmental concerns such as a landfill.
- If the home is advertised in an “up and coming” neighborhood, it may be a good selling point, or it could mean you’d be dealing with the inconvenience of development while living there. Find out precisely what “up and coming” means for this neighborhood.
- Economic factors can be a red flag that something is happening in the area. Are taxes increasing? Are businesses moving out of the area? Have there been recent zoning changes that will affect the neighborhood?
- The area schools can affect the value of your home. Don’t dismiss the local school’s reputation and statistics if you don’t have children who would be attending. It may affect you if you are going to sell in the future.
Discover.com has an excellent guide to researching a neighborhood before you buy. You can read it here.
Awareness of possible red flags will allow you to begin your Brooklyn home search with confidence. You will also have a team of professionals helping you along the way. Your real estate professional, home inspector, lender, title company, and the closing attorney will work with you to make a wise investment. You can read more about the role of each of these team players in this previous blog post.
Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I understand the local market, and can help you with your Brooklyn home search.
In the event our office is shut down, we are always committed to your safety during the COVID-19 health crisis in compliance with the State of New York public health policies. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at email@example.com.
The post Watch For Red Flags During Your Brooklyn Home Search appeared first on Brooklyn Real Estate Blog.
SOURCE: Brooklyn Real Estate Blog – Read entire story here.