By far, the largest and most significant singular investment most people will make in their lives is in purchasing a home. With such an important decision as to which home to ultimately make an offer on, there really cannot be any measure or degree of over-thinking. One cannot be too careful when it comes to evaluating and considering the home’s condition and whether there are any questions about such a considerable investment that should be made on a given property.

Prospective buyers of a home should be wary of the disclosure form where the home seller lists known defects in the house. It should be pretty well understood that the flaws they listed are indeed there. But “buyer beware” should be exercised here, as some defects ultimately there may have been “overlooked” by the owner, with the seller hoping that the prospective buyer may not see certain, more subtle flaws.

Key Elements to Look For

One essential red flag to look for in the home is a cracked foundation. An unstable foundation may be the cause of cracks wider than 1/2 inch. A foundation contractor should be brought in to inspect the foundation if there are any lingering doubts whatsoever.

Another thing to think about is the presence of mold. Suppose mold is visible, or a particular area has a moldy smell. In that case, this can mean that large areas around the infected area (wood materials, drywall, construction materials, carpeting, etc.) may need replacement, a pretty considerable expense in itself.

Water stains are problematic, as there could be a few reasons why this staining is occurring. Is it a leaky roof or water pipes? Diagnosing the problem could be complicated; the cost of fixing the problem could be very prohibitive.

Keep an eye out for “masking” measures the owner may have just taken or are currently doing. This can include a singular newly painted surface (perhaps covering up water or mold stains) and an overpowering “air freshener” smell (covering up the odor of pet urine, perhaps, or the distinctive aroma of mold).

Checking on the age of the HVAC unit is an excellent idea. Older units are inefficient, not heating and cooling the home adequately. This results in higher utility costs to run them (an extra ongoing expense) until the units are replaced (large expenditures, both of them).