Buying a home is usually really exciting, but let's be honest, it's a huge purchase and can be stressful to actually pull the trigger. If something "doesn't feel right", that's not always a sign to walk away. But it also could be a clue that your gut is telling you something is wrong based on the evidence at hand, and you're trying to overlook it. Cold feet can definitely make people walk away from purchases that actually is a smart one, but we're here to help you identify a criteria that will help you make the right call when it comes to signing on the dotted line.
1) Home inspection turns up something majorly wrong. Inspections are definitely NOT a formality, and this is among the most important ones on this list. First of all it's important to remember unless you're buying a brand new build (and even then, a lot of them will have flaws found), there WILL be many things wrong with a house. The inspector will generally take about an hour to go around with a prospective buyer and point out issues with the place. What we need to take away from this is learning to properly identify what is a small, predictable issue in line with the age of of the house, and those massive red flags that should make you walk. Don’t ever ignore something major, such as sagging floors, cracks in the wall, or roof or drainage issues. And when it comes down to weighing the issues of the potential purchase, old wiring that's on the verge of a raging inferno is a lot different than a couple leaky toilets.
2) If the builder cut corners, probably a good idea to leave that potential nightmare for somebody else to deal with. One of the signs to look for is fresh paint overspray on the inside or outside of window trim and light fixtures. The overspray might be covering up inconsistencies in the finish—wood that doesn’t look like wood, for example. But more importantly, it quite often indicates that the contractor went with the lowest-quality painter, so it’s likely they cut corners elsewhere in places that are not so obvious. Ask a lot of questions about possible shortcuts a builder decided to take.
3) The house is too unusual. To be clear, this one is far from a huge red flag, but it's important to think of the long game when it comes to crazy floor plans, or perhaps a moat in front of the house. You love the bizarro layout, and can't imagine not having the house...cool, go for it! But, you must understand if you do decide to move for whatever reason, these houses are much more difficult to sell, just based on the simple fact you need a very specific buyer to take the house off your hands in the event of selling. So make sure this wacky house is one you will love for a long time.
4) Terrible neighbors. Seriously, one could argue this should be at the top of the list. An extremely quick way to make your life miserable is to be next door to jerk neighbors. We know it's pretty hard to gauge the quality of neighbors until you're already moved in, but if you can discern anything before the deal is final that lead you to believe you might have a serious problem lurking next door, well buyer beware. What I would do, is maybe introduce yourself to the adjacent neighbors before you firm up the deal, just introduce yourself and ask about the neighborhood for example. Considering how brutal a bad neighbor can make your life, this easy proactive gesture could prove to be extremely useful.
5) You don't love the neighborhood. You can fix a broken ceiling fan, but that freeway or airport a stone's throw away? Can't fix that. We aren't saying people never grow to love a location, happens all the time...but if you're having serious misgivings about the area, this could be seen as a red flag. Like the third one on this list, you might get used to living by a train for example, but be ready to have a tough time selling the place, as many buyers will be much more picky about location criteria than you. Don't overthink it, and try and be open-minded...but if you just can't see it working for you, not the house to buy.
6) You can't afford it. I shouldn't have to explain this one to you, should I? If you can't afford it, don't buy it. Simple.
Remember these tips when it comes to settling on a house, and you shouldn't have any regrets
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