Today, buyers are looking for a Great Deal. Sometimes we forget that a great deal is about a lot more than just the price. So many of our distressed properties today (those in foreclosure or involving short sales) have not been maintained for quite a while. Think about the homeowner who can't afford to pay the mortgage payment. Do you think this homeowner is being diligent about the maintenance? So, here are just a few RED FLAGS to look for when choosing a "smoking buy" in today's market ...
Steep slopes (especially of concern in areas of periodic heavy rains and in areas sloped to create subdivisions, which have resulted in many landslides.)
Floors that appear unlevel
Cracks in the foundation, walls, or ceilings
Doors and door casings which are not square to each other
Water stains on walls or ceilings
Smell of dampness in structure
Apparent additions or structure modifications
(were additions or modifications done under a valid building permit?)
Presence of an oil heating system or evidence of a prior oil heating system
Soft floors in an area such as a bathroom or kitchen
Evidence of poor caulking in tub/shower surround areas
Use of manufactured siding
Gas or oil furnaces that show yellow flames
Evidence of water stains on crawl space piers, footings, or walls
Evidence of crumbling concrete foundation walls (often, older homes in California were built with sand that contained a great deal of organic material. This material over time breaks down and simply leaves the foundation concrete in a deteriorated state)
Evidence of standing water on a property
When I am showing a home to one of my buyers, while they are looking at the floorplan and the backyard and the upgraded kitchen, I'm looking for signs on my "Red Flag" list. Better to find these problems before we close the escrow than having to deal with the headache and expense of curing or repairing after close. I have several very good Home Inspection Companies that I highly recommend. If you are thinking about buying a home in this market with over 50% distressed home inventory, call me first. Even if you are using another Realtor (which I certainly hope you are not) you will still need a very good home inspector. It doesn't hurt to have more than one set of eyes examining the home before you pay for the inspection either! (That would be mine and yours first of all.) It pays to know what you're buying or know exactly what you are paying before you commit. Call Your Real Estate Consultant For Life!
You'll be glad you did...
Charlie & Dyna