We all want to feel good about a purchase whether it’s a dining room table, a car, or a house, but what are those red flags that might pop up indicating that this might not be as good of a deal as it sounds? I’m all about going with your gut when purchasing real estate so if you come across some interesting red flags, they may be assigned this is not the best deal for you. Here are those top red flags to know whether a deal is too good to be true.
#1. Sketchy real estate agent.
Whether you are a buyer or a seller, if you’re dealing with a sketchy, shady, or knee-jerk reaction real estate agent, they may be hiding something you’ll need to know about. Any offputting actions should be a red flag. Don’t be pressured into making a quick decision, unless you are comfortable with your agent and understand they have your best interest at heart. If anything seems to go against general real estate practices, there could be an underlying reason why. If the seller is offering incentives for a buyer to waive a home inspection, there could be something lurking just underneath the surface that the homeowner wants to hide. Check for permits, title insurance, and always have a home inspection. If for any reason your gut tells you something’s shady, step aside.
#2. If the list price seems way too high or far too low.
Pricing a home is definitely a unique strategy but if the home is priced way under market value, the homeowners could be hiding something. Also, if the home is priced 10% over any comparable properties, chances are the appraisal will not come in where you wanted to be and the homeowner is possibly dreaming. Talk to your agent until you figure out the best middle of the road price where the home should be and negotiate around that.
#3. The history of the house is unclear.
Most real estate agents can look up the title and a properties history to find out about unpermitted repairs, damage to the home, or liens on the property. The seller’s disclosure form can inform potential buyers about quite a bit of activity on the property but they may not share everything. If it’s been sitting on the market for a long time or if it’s had accepted offers that have fallen through, this could be a huge red flag there something wrong with the property itself.
#4. There are too many cosmetic issues.
A lot of homebuyers, especially first-time homebuyers, think that a few cosmetic repairs are all they need for the home to be considered a “fixer-upper” but if there are too many cosmetic issues, it could be hiding greater problems. If you notice shoddy paint on the wall it could be covering up water damage. Anything that is painted over multiple times, looks like it was trying to hide something, or if the homeowner has taken shortcuts on repairs, this could be hiding a lot more major issues. You’ll know if something looks like it has been done correctly or if it looks like it’s trying to cover something up.
#5. The neighborhood is shady.
The online photos of the property were amazing, the house shines and looks beautiful, but then you visit the home and realize every neighbor in the community could pass as a drug house. There are a lot of things that the online property listing won’t tell you about the home. The property itself might be great but the local area could be a bad investment. It’s important to browse the area, drive through the neighborhood multiple times of the day and evening, and see if this is a neighborhood you really want to live in.
Again, go with your gut. If you just don’t have a good feeling about the property or the neighborhood, this may be a clue to pass on the property. As your agent, I will help you make the best-informed decision with the information I can provide but it’s also a good idea to do your own due diligence and check out the property, the history, and the neighborhood for yourself.