5 Red Flags to Look For When Buying a House

In the current housing market, it can be tempting to make an offer when a home has a beautiful layout and is in the right price range. However, ignoring red flags can be a costly mistake. Whether you’re buying your first home, relocating or downsizing, watch out for signs of trouble at the next open house so you know if you should proceed with caution:

1. Strong Fragrances 

While offering freshly baked cookies is a nice touch for an open house, the seller may be trying to mask an odour. Take a deep inhale in every room, including the basement, to identify pervasive smells. Inspect walls, ceilings and floors for signs of water damage, mould, pet accidents and smoke. 

2. Neglected Home Maintenance 

If the existing homeowner has neglected home maintenance, you will likely run into issues down the road. Ensure you ask the right questions. Inspect the gutters, roof and siding for signs of damage. Enquire about the HVAC system, and check for uncaulked gaps around windows and doors. Long grass, burnt-out lightbulbs, and leaky faucets could indicate bigger issues have been ignored.  

3. Foundation Issues

While hairline cracks in the foundation are normal, large cracks or crumbling foundations are serious structural issues that require a professional. Check that the gutters are directing water away from the foundation. Doors and windows that stick, as well as cracks above windows and sloping floors, may also indicate foundation issues.  

4. Dodgy Windows 

Take a closer look at the windows and check for lopsided frames. If windows are difficult to open, they may have been incorrectly installed or could indicate foundation issues. If you notice any air drafts, you may need to recaulk or replace the windows altogether. If you have room in the budget, consider upgrading to energy-efficient windows

5. Inadequate Ventilation 

Window condensation and peeling or bubbling paint could indicate inadequate ventilation. Improper ventilation can encourage mould growth, which can harm your health and trigger allergies.