Purchasing a home is one of the most important, and expensive, decisions you will ever make. So, it should be one that you carefully consider before placing any offers or putting money down on a house. If you skip inspections or rush into a decision, issues below the surface could quickly turn your dream home into a money pit. If you see any of these 10 signs before closing, you should probably rethink buying a house.
10 Signs You Should Rethink Buying a House
1. It’s a bad location.
If you live in a larger city like me, there are probably some very beautiful, older homes at great prices. However, they are in the usually in the older parts of the city that have high crime rates now. Although the home may be perfect in every other way, you can’t change the location. So, if it’s in a bad part of town or too far from work, school, stores, and restaurants, it may be better to keep looking for something more convenient that fits the bill.
2. There aren’t enough bedrooms.
Although you can expand closets and add storage space, it probably isn’t in your budget to add extra rooms to a home. If you choose to build additions, it can become very costly with the permits, contractors, and inflated cost of building materials. Therefore, you should rule out any homes that don’t have enough bedrooms.
Carefully consider how much space you will need for guests, a home office, and kids, especially if your family plans on growing. By limiting your search to houses with enough space, you can eliminate options that are too small instead of trying to condense your life into a house that doesn’t meet your needs.
3. Every room needs work.
If you have the skills to do some of your own renovations, it could save you a lot of money. And, it could get you into a home that would otherwise be above your budget.
However, if every room is a project, it may not be worth the time or effort. Depending on the extent of the work, repairs usually come with a hefty bill. Furthermore, it would mean living in a construction zone for several months, or longer. Fixer-uppers are a great opportunity for people who flip houses, but not for a family that needs something that is move-in ready.
4. It has problems with the foundation.
There is no way around this one; homes that have foundation issues will require a big-ticket fix. Each estimate and situation will vary, but it will likely cost thousands of additional dollars in repairs.
But for those who are willing to tackle the issue, it may leave room for negotiation. If you decide to proceed with an offer, make sure to leave room in your budget for the necessary repairs alongside the down payment and closing costs. And, it never hurts to leave a little extra in case there are further unpleasant surprises.
5. The doors are difficult to close.
Houses shift and settle as they age, so it’s normal to have an interior door that sticks or rubs. But, it shouldn’t be every door or become an obstacle when moving around your home.
When you have doors that won’t budge or don’t align properly in the frame, it could be a sign that the walls or floors are uneven. If it indicates that there are structural issues, then you may want to rethink buying a house and move on to the next listing.
6. The house smells.
There are several reasons why homes have odors. For example, if the previous owners were smokers, had pets, or experienced water damage, it would explain the source of strong odors. However, it also means you will have to remove the offending carpet, drywall, or subflooring.
The worst-case scenario is that the smell indicates a mold problem. Not only is this expensive to treat, but it can also be very damaging to your health.
7. It lacks curb appeal.
When you see a yard that is overgrown or landscaping in disrepair, it gives you a clear sense of how a property has been maintained. Although not true in every case, it usually means that in addition to all the updates and renovations to the interior of the house, you will have the added expense for the outside areas as well. Unless the interior is immaculate or you have an unlimited budget, it’s better to find a home that offers some curb appeal.
8. The owners won’t agree to an inspection.
Anytime someone doesn’t agree to an inspection before the sale, it’s a huge red flag. No matter what they tell you, it is standard procedure to have a professional assess the home and advise on any current or potential issues with the house.
So if they won’t let you see certain parts of the house or agree to an inspection, it’s a good sign they are hiding something. And if the owners aren’t forthcoming with the condition of the house, you never know what other details they may be withholding.
9. The house has had too many or too few owners.
When I’m looking at homes, I like to know the history of the house. If the current owner or realtor doesn’t know, you can check with your city government to find sales records and see how many owners it has had. This information can also give you some insights into the condition and upkeep of the property.
If it has changed hands several times, there is probably a good reason they wanted to get rid of it. But on the other side of the coin, if the same person has lived there for decades, it may not be up to current safety codes and require expensive updates. This is just one more reason why inspections are a crucial step in the buying process.
10. It seems too good to be true.
As the old adage goes, if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Dream homes don’t come at a discount.
It’s hard to find deals, especially under the current market conditions. So if a home is priced too low, there are other factors affecting the listing. Do your homework so you know what you are buying. And never skip the inspection. But if every option still breaks your budget, it may be wise to rethink buying a house and postpone your purchase until better opportunities come along.
- What to Look for When Buying Your First Home
- What You Need to Know About Fixing Up An Old House
- 3 Tips For Getting Financing Right For Your Dream Home
Jenny Smedra is an avid world traveler, ESL teacher, former archaeologist, and freelance writer. Choosing a life abroad had strengthened her commitment to finding ways to bring people together across language and cultural barriers. While most of her time is dedicated to either working with children, she also enjoys good friends, good food, and new adventures.