By now most of you have heard of friends or friends of friends who went on to buy their first home, only to find out that the whole process wasn’t all it was made out to be. My very own daughter had a similarly negative experience despite repeated warnings from me…but that is a story for another day.
First things first, buying a house is an enormous undertaking, both financially and emotionally, for most people. That is why you need to have all your ducks in a row before you go on to sign that buyer’s contract.
It is not unheard of for people to be cheated out of their hard-earned money. It is not unheard of for first-time homebuyers to rush into a purchase only to find out that they have to sink in much more into the house before it is anywhere near liveable standards. These things happen. But with just a little forethought and careful vetting, you can avoid being one of the victims. Here are 4 red flags for first time homebuyers.
A lot of ‘for sale’ signs around
One of the most obvious red flags is when you walk into a neighbourhood and find that most of the houses in the same area are for sale. This could signify the fact that most residents are not satisfied with the area for one reason or another.
Maybe it isn’t safe or maybe they have other amenity issues. It is for you to try and find out why so many neighbouring homes are going up for sale. You can talk to the neighbours or walk up to the nearest police station and ask them about the local security concerns.
You should always look for signs of a well-maintained and thriving neighbourhood. These signs include well-kept homes, perfectly manicured gardens, well-lit sidewalks and flourishing businesses.
You may have noticed from previous entries where I suggest attnending property investors’ network events. I do so because talking to investors is a great way to get a feel for a place. The people in those events would have had the chance to invest in different locations, so their insights can save you a lot of time on where to hunt for houses. If you’re wondering where these types of events are held, you may want to check out PIN Meetings of Simon Zutshi and the We Buy Houses Community Meetup events of Rick Otton, since these take place monthly.
When buying into a community, you never really fully know what you are going to get as far as neighbours are concerned. But there are things that you can do to make sure that you buy into a place where the neighbours are at the very least, tolerable. Some red flags include neighbours who do not keep their gardens or homes well maintained, overflowing trash, lawns that are stacked high with debris and trash and a wide variety of people going in and out of the home.
The best way to run a covert investigation of the neighbourhood is to drive by a few times at different hours of the day. See who comes and goes and look at how the neighbourhood behaves at rush hour as well as when the day slows down.
Additions that are out of place
Yes, it is okay to add a sunroof or to expand your master bedroom into a master ensuite. But just how professional was the workmanship? If it was done very well, you wouldn’t tell that there had been any additions made. If, however, it was poorly done, you will find disjointed additions that show exactly what was added on. What you need to ask yourself is this, if you can clearly see that there is a disjointed addition, was it done by a professional? And if so, are there proper permits for the additions? Did they adhere to electrical safety recommendations and are the additions going to last or are they things that will start costing you more money in contractor fees as soon as you move in?
The best way to wade through this is either to call the contractor independently or to hire a professional inspector before making the purchase. These are the people who will give you their honest opinion regarding the additions.
Sometimes, this is a sign of more than just a terrible paint job or maintenance. It could signify dry rot and window seals that are not quite as watertight as they should be. It could also signify one form of leakage or another (mostly the roof and sometimes even the walls). The only way to guard yourself against this kind of thing is to have the home professionally inspected before you proceed.
This is a huge investment and you should not take it lightly. Use a trusted estate agent, a trusted solicitor and only buy from genuine sellers who are more than willing to submit to all necessary inspections and protocols before the sale is closed.Tags: first time home buyers, red flags when buying a house, what to look for when buying a home