5 Red Flags Every Buyer Should Look Out For

It’s important for buyers to be flexible and open-minded during a home search, but there are several signs that could indicate that a property might be more trouble than it’s worth. Here are five red flags that every buyer should look out for.

If you’re a buyer in the market for a new home, one unfortunate possibility is that you’ll find a house that you like, get attached to it, and then something will happen that causes the deal to fall apart. Sometimes contracts get terminated because of unforeseen circumstances, but sometimes there are signs along the way that the home might not be worth the time and effort you’re willing to put into it.

Here are five red flags that every buyer should look out for during their home search.

  1. Homes that are extremely overpriced. If you’ve looked at the average market value for the property you’re interested in and the home is way more expensive than other homes in the area for no apparent reason, it probably means that you’re going to encounter a seller who strongly feels that their home is worth more than it actually is. While that’s not necessarily a huge problem, it most likely means that you can expect to negotiate for a while and that offering the much lower market value price might result in them declining your offer and refusing to negotiate at all.
  2. Sellers that aren’t accommodating. Refusing last minute showings or canceling showings due to actual emergencies is one thing, but if you’ve tried to see the home and the seller continues to cancel or refuses access, that is a red flag. Unless this home is your dream home and seems perfect on paper, consider moving on. Being difficult before you’ve even entered a contract can sometimes mean that the seller is going to be difficult throughout the entire home buying process.
  3. Poor communication from the listing agent. This red flag goes hand in hand with the lack of accommodation. If you’ve tried multiple times to get in touch with the seller’s real estate agent with no success, you can probably assume that things aren’t going to change after you enter a contract. This is a big deal because there are a lot of important deadlines that both sides need to meet, and if you can’t get in touch with the other agent, your contract might be terminated.
  4. Signs of poor maintenance. If the home that you’re interested in is a fixer-upper, then you should expect to put in some work. If not, this is a major red flag. Poor overall maintenance can be a sign that the homeowner let major things go unattended to as well. Pay attention to details, and if you notice a few too many things that need to be repaired, think about looking at another home. If you decide to move forward and make an offer, be sure to have a home inspection completed on the property to reveal any larger problems that could be lurking beneath the surface.
  5. Inaccurate listings. If the listing includes features that aren’t at the home or incorrect information about the property itself (square footage, number of rooms, etc.), that should be an immediate red flag. That could mean that the seller is intentionally being misleading, which should make you wonder what else they’re being untruthful about. It could also mean that the listing agent didn’t bother to actually look at the home that they’re selling and, depending on the incorrect information, it could lead to a lawsuit. Either way, they probably aren’t people that you want to be involved with during one of the biggest financial investments of your life.

A good rule of thumb is to trust your gut. If trying to see the home, make an offer, and close on time seems more difficult than it needs to be, or if things don’t feel right at any point during the home buying process, speak to your real estate agent about it. Chances are that they feel the same way and can offer you some alternatives.

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Tamara Oakley is a hardworking real estate professional based in the Columbus, Ohio area. As a top Listing and Selling Agent at Coldwell Banker King Thompson and a 2015 recipient of the Columbus REALTORS®’ Twenty-Five Million Dollar Club Award, Tamara understands the importance of staying knowledgeable and informed about the ever-changing climate of real estate.

She is committed to continuous growth and stays up-to-date with real estate trends and new information so that she can provide superior service to her clients. That, in combination with her local expertise, have allowed her to become the highly-skilled agent that she is today. www.tamaraoakley.com

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