By Keith Loria


More often than not sellers don't always disclose everything that may be wrong with their home when going through the selling process. While no house is ever as "perfect" as it may appear a little due diligence on the part of you and your agent can ultimately save you headaches down the road.

Start by taking a look around the neighborhood and see if other real estate signs litter the lawns nearby. Go to the local stores and see if any are closing down or have been vandalized. If you notice that a lot of people are looking to leave the neighborhood there's probably a reason why. You may have found a great home but if it's in a bad neighborhood it's going to affect the value.

You also need to pay close attention to the way the exterior of the home has been treated. If you see extra layers of roofing boards near walls plants growing out of the gutters or lots of cracks in the pavement chances are not much care went into maintaining the property.

While you're outside look at the yard grading. If the yard slopes toward the house it could cause a serious water problem with water running down the foundation walls or into the basement. Scour the foundation for damage as bulges or cracks bigger than one-third of an inch can mean the house has serious structural issues.

Don't be afraid to use your nose-as well as your eyes-to uncover potential red flags. If you smell sewage gas or anything else that's unpleasant it could be because of some serious issues. If you are getting close to making the decision to buy it might be a smart idea to hire a plumbing company to send a camera through the pipes to determine if there are any blockages or breaks.

When it comes to the inside of the home one of the most important things to look at is the wiring. Be sure to flip the light switches to make sure they work and check the fuse box to see what condition it's in. In addition ask if the electric has been updated in the last 10 years because that's something that can be costly to fix once you move in.

Last but not least check for bugs ants and traps hidden in the corners or under baseboards. A savvy home seller won't leave mousetraps out but they often forget about the little roach motels. While little creatures in the house shouldn't immediately scare you away if you see a lot of ants-especially carpenter ants around wood-it could be a sign that there's a problem.

Remember the job of the home seller is to make the house as attractive as possible and hide all of its faults. With a little detective work you can save a lot of time and money in the long run and make sure the house is good enough to become your home.

Contact our office today to learn more about warning signs that shouldn't be overlooked.