Jeff’s Carlsbad Blog for First Time Home Buyers

Be on the Lookout For…

Posted in Due Diligence,House Hunting,Inspections by Jeff Dowler on May 29, 2007

money_house.jpgYou find a wonderful house in the community you want, with terrific curb appeal. The price is right and seems fair compared to other homes you have seen in the area, and the MLS pictures are very appealing. You can’t wait to get inside…this MAY be the one! There isn’t much information in the listing, and the only comments state that the home has been recently updated, but no specifics.

Once inside, you notice the new paint on the walls and ceiling in the living room, new carpet on the floor, and some other cosmetic improvements. So far so good. There is a funny odor that you can’t quite identify, but the house is vacant and has been for some time, according to the listing agent, so you figure the smell is due to being closed up for a long period. You notice, however, that the ceiling, despite being newly painted, has an odd texture in the corner of the room. And interestingly the floor under the carpet in that area feels odd. Despite how appealing the home is, and how much you like the layout, the room sizes and the overall area, something feels off to you. But you decide to make an offer (which gets accepted below asking price) and start planning your inspection.

As a new buyer, anxious to acquire your new home, and with limited experience in house hunting, you should be on the lookout for situations like this. While there are no disclosures from the listing agent, the inspector notices the paint issue in the living room. And when you point out the funny feeling in the carpet, he feels this too. After a quick check on the roof, the inspector breaks the news – there is clear evidence of roof leaks, and the new paint and carpet appear to be hiding damage from a leak in the living room. And the smell is due to the leaking problems in the attic area.

You are not an inspector and cannot be expected to notice all these things, or to understand what they are about. But as a buyer, you need to pay careful attention to the homes you are touring and to not let your emotions about the home overshadow concerns or doubts you might have about things that appear to be off. Sometimes things are hidden or purposely masked. Defects and damage may not be disclosed, sometimes deliberately.

So pay attention to these issues. And work with a Buyer Agent you can represent YOUR interests and assist you with uncovering problems, especially if you are considering a home being sold directly by the owner without representation. And when things seem off, you need to inquire, or get more information through an inspection. Failure to do so can cost you potentially thousands of dollars. Lots of homes have minor defects, many of which are obvious. The ones to be concerned about are those where things are not obvious and appear to be intentionally hidden – by paint, carpet, new paneling. And pay particular attention to smells and staining – water damage can be very serious, and fixing the problem can be costly.

Make sure you do your due diligence!


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