No home is perfect, but don’t let your excitement or desire for a home spur you to make rash decisions or overlook serious red flags. You can quickly fix minor repairs and unfortunate paint colors. But, more severe issues could make you end up regretting your purchase. It all depends on your budget and how much time you are willing to dedicate to fixing up a home. This article will advise you on what flaws you shouldn’t ignore and help you decide when to pull the plug or make an offer when buying a home in Northern Colorado.
Neighborhood in Flux
You want to buy into a neighborhood that will retain its value. How do you know what to look for? Here are some tips:
1)Avoid neighborhoods with many “for sale” signs. Rentals and foreclosures could indicate it’s not a stable neighborhood, and owners want to get out while they can. Foreclosures and rentals also mean you’ll see more poorly maintained and unkempt property, which drags down values.
2) If the neighborhood looks like it’s in transition, ensure it’s up-and-coming and not declining. Sometimes it’s hard to tell just by looking, so your real estate agent can review current sales activity to give you a complete picture.
3) Sometimes you can get a good deal in a growing neighborhood, even if it looks a little desolate now. This could be an excellent opportunity to get in before it takes off. Make sure that any proposed plans are funded and approved by the necessary government agencies, not just a developer’s pipe dream.
Thoroughly review the home inspection before closing on a house. Ensure you have access to the appropriate documentation and a complete breakdown of the findings. If the home has any issues that need fixing, it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth the extra cost and effort. Move forward with caution if the home has any of these issues:
Lack of general maintenance shouldn’t be ignored. It’s a warning sign that this home hasn’t been adequately taken care of for many years. Major issues, such as water damage, could be lurking.
Questionable fixer-uppers. Some issues are typical of the age and location of your home and not the sign of poor construction. In certain neighborhoods, you may not mind a typical fixer-upper with “good bones.” However, steer clear of homes with too many issues for their age. In particular, avoid buying a house with structural defects or unfinished carpentry.
Do-it-yourself additions. DIY additions can be expensive to replace and hurt the value of your home when you try to resell. If the addition looks awkward and cheap, it probably is. For any recent renovations, make sure the seller has proper permits and approvals for the project.
Moisture in the basement. Moisture in the basement means two things— the home’s grading has some seepage issues, and you’ve got the potential for mold. Usually, the basement will smell musty if this is the case. Mold is a serious issue and can cause health problems if pervasive.
Watermarks on the ceiling or walls often signal a leaking roof, gutters rusting, or faulty plumbing — all leading to wood rot and other possible destruction.
Cracks in the wall and sloping floors point to possible structural and foundation issues. Depending on your home’s age, these repairs are costly!
Faulty and outdated wiring. Faulty wiring is expensive to fix and a serious fire hazard. Inspectors should check for overloaded circuits and proper grounding. If you are looking to do a lot of renovations to an older home, make sure it has enough electrical amperage coming into the house.
Hidden Problems When Buying a Home in Northern Colorado
Sometimes you’ll walk into a room and feel like something is wrong. When touring a home, it’s ok to be a bit of a detective and examine the home carefully. Look out for freshly painted walls that seem out of place (it could be covering up mildew, mold, or water damage). Similarly, overwhelming air fresheners or scented candles could be masking odors from pets, smoke, or musty mold. Oddly placed rugs may be hiding floor damage. Listen to your gut, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
New Construction—The Pros and Cons
There are pros and cons to buying a brand new house. The pros are obvious—you’ll be the first to live there, and everything is brand new. That being said, new doesn’t always mean better. There could be more problems than a “used” home. If no one has ever lived there, even a home inspector can’t find issues. It may take ten showers to figure out there is a crack in the pipe! Personally, I tend to think it’s best to be the second property owner after the previous owners have lived there for a few years and worked out all the kinks.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide what flaws you are willing to overlook in a home. There is no right answer here but go into buying a home in Northern Colorado with your eyes wide open. If you have the time and budget to make repairs, a charming fixer-upper might be an excellent project. If you’re having trouble estimating costs and weighing your options, let me help you! I’m happy to lend my expertise to all aspects of the home buying process.
Next week our series will cover 4 Little Known House Hunting Tips. I’ll tell you my little-known house hunting tips to give you an added edge.
I'm Lauren Haug! I'm a teacher-turned-real estate agent, and I teach people how to build wealth through real estate in Northern Colorado.
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