10 open house red flags you should not ignore

Summer is the prime time for purchasing new homes and moving. Certain warning signs during an open house, however, should have you questioning a property. As you embark on your open house adventures this summer, watch out for these red flags to avoid buying a money pit.

1. Multiple Homes for Sale in the Same Area
The house you are looking at might be a perfect fit, but what about the neighborhood? Multiple homes for sale on one street could be a sign that residents aren’t happy with the area.

Take a tour of the community and look for signs of a thriving neighborhood, such as well-kept homes, flourishing businesses, and an abundance of sidewalks and streetlights. If you see any neighbors, ask them how long they’ve lived there and how they like the area. You could learn a lot.

2. Funky Odors
Water damage, mildew and mold might be hard to see, but they aren’t hard to smell. Some agents try to mask these musky and dank odors with air freshener, potpourri or fresh-baked cookies, but that only goes so far.

Take a whiff of the closets or basement to get a better idea of the house’s condition. If you suspect something is off, schedule a private tour of the house with a separate agent. It’s a lot harder to hide those funky smells when it’s just you and a neutral third party conducting a walk-through of the property.

3. Rooms That Are “Off Limits”
Sellers might block off rooms for a variety of reasons — such as conserving air conditioning or storing a few items they haven’t had time to move yet — so this isn’t an immediate red flag. Just ask the listing agent about any rooms or areas that are blocked off and request to see them during a private tour of the home. You want to make sure you see every inch of the house before you consider purchasing it.

4. Recent Renovations
Some homeowners decide to do quick renovations to make their homes more salable, but the fast work can come at a price or as a result of cutting corners, such as no permits, structural issues, or electrical and plumbing that was never properly inspected. For example, if a homeowner removed a load-bearing wall to create a more open floor plan, the structural integrity of the rest of the house might be compromised.

If you love the house but question the recent renovations, you can hire a structural engineer to inspect the property. Also, construction permits and records can usually be requested from the city. Do your due diligence so nothing comes back to haunt you later.

5. Peeling Paint
Peeling paint can be a sign of more than just an old paint job — sometimes it’s caused by dry rot or moisture penetration.

A property inspection should identify any dry rot and reveal any windows or seals that aren’t watertight, including in the roof. But these inspections are costly. U.S. News estimates a home inspection can run anywhere from $300 to $600, which is why inspections are typically done when the house is already in escrow.

If the home inspection reveals the home has dry rot or water damage, you could ask the seller to pay for the repairs or credit your escrow account for the costs.

6. Deferred Maintenance
During the open house, look for signs of deferred maintenance like broken fixtures, cracked masonry, outdated electrical outlets, sticky doors or unusual drafts. These issues can be signs that the owner has not kept up the home — a mistake that can cost you after the escrow closing.

If you love the house, try negotiating with the owner to have him either make the repairs or credit you the costs of hiring professionals to fix the problems.

7. Disjointed Additions
Have you ever visited a property that looked like it was pieced together? Maybe some of the rooms weren’t exactly aligned or were comprised of various building materials. These kinds of discrepancies can indicate the space was added on to the original property.

Additions, like sunrooms or a master suite, can add a lot of value to a property — if they are done well. But sometimes this kind of work is done by novices who don’t get the proper permits, consider how the extra space will affect the structure, or correctly hook up electrical and plumbing systems.

Ask the listing agent about the history of the house. A good agent should know when any additions were constructed and if permits were acquired. If the agent isn’t sure, which could be a red flag, look up the information through city records.

8. Shady Neighbors
You might think you found the house of your dreams, but the neighbors might be a nightmare. You never really know what you’re going to get, but some signs of shady neighbors could include poor maintenance, overflowing trash, personal items or debris stacked on the porch or lawn, or lots of people coming in and out of the property.

If you want to get a better idea of who is living next door, do several drive-bys of the property during different days and times. See what is going on in the morning, midday and at night, especially on the weekends. If you see any residents walking around, ask them how they like the area and if there’s anything to watch out for. You might get the inside scoop on some neighborhood drama you otherwise would have never known about until it was too late.

9. Unfinished Construction
Sometimes a house is listed before renovations are complete. It’s possible the owner ran out of money or ran into issues with the property that prevented the renovation from being finished on time. If you are interested in learning more about the status of the house, call the contractor with any questions — don’t ask the seller because you want to try to get neutral information.

Make sure your lender will still finance a home with unfinished construction work because this can be a deal breaker for some brokers. According to Realtor.com, construction loans are riskier than standard home loans, and you will need excellent credit and at least a 20 percent to 25 percent down payment.

Weigh this decision carefully because you might end up jumping through extra hoops and spending more than you intended. For example, the lender will need to perform a credit check on the builder, and more appraisals and inspections might be required.

10. Popcorn Ceilings
Popcorn ceilings are not the worst problem to have, but they will need to be addressed. Popcorn ceilings can contain asbestos and other toxic materials, which means you’ll need to fork over extra cash to make your new home safe and healthy.

You might be able to remove the popcorn yourself, but according to Angie’s List, the safest and cleanest way to get the job done is to hire a professional contractor to do it for you — especially if asbestos is a factor. Removal can cost $1 to $3 per square foot, but the price is worth getting the job done right and preserving everyone’s health.

Ultimately, a thorough, professional home inspection should unveil any red flags with your potential new home. Once you have an idea of what you could be getting yourself into, you’ll have to weigh the pros, cons and costs of inheriting those issues. Ensuring your home meets safety regulations should be your top priority.

ad-high_impact_4
Business
AGS partners with Vegas Golden Knights
AGS is the nation’s second-largest manufacturer of Class II slot machines used primarily in tribal jurisdictions. It announced a marketing partnership with the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lehman Brothers bet big on Las Vegas
Lehman Brothers collapsed 10 years ago, helping send the country into the Great Recession.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Ross & Snow launches in Las Vegas
Luxury shoe brand Ross & Snow has opened in Las Vegas, featuring "functional luxury" with premium shearling footwear. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remote Identification and Drones
DJI vice president of policy and public affairs discusses using remote identification on drones. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Drones and public safety in Nevada
Two representatives in the drone industry discuss UAV's impact on public safety. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Frontier Airlines to launch flights from Las Vegas to Mexico
Frontier, a Denver-based ultra-low-cost carrier, will become the first airline in more than a decade to offer international service to Canada and Mexico from Las Vegas when flights to Cancun and Los Cabos begin Dec. 15. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren addresses Oct. 1 lawsuits
MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren addresses criticism his company has received for filing a lawsuit against the survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International opens the doors on MGM Springfield
Massachusetts’ first hotel-casino opens in downtown Springfield. The $960 million MGM Springfield has 252 rooms and 125,000-square-feet of casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International prepares to open MGM Springfield
Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International gave news media and invited guests a preview of the $960 million MGM Springfield casino in Massachusetts. The commonwealth's first resort casino will open Friday, Aug. 24. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A Walk Through Circus Circus
It only takes a short walk through Circus Circus to realize it attracts a demographic like no other casino on the Strip: families with young children. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morphy Auctions, a vintage slot machines seller, wants gaming license
Vice president Don Grimmer talks about Morphy Auctions at the company's warehouse located at 4520 Arville Street in Las Vegas on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada's venture capital money doesn't stay in state
Zach Miles, associate vice president for economic development for UNLV, said there’s venture money in Southern Nevada, “but trying to find the right groups to tap into for that money is different.” According to a 2017 report from the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranked number 34 out of 40 metropolitan areas for growth entrepreneurship, a metric of how much startups grow. With a lack of growing startups in Las Vegas, investment money is being sent outside of state borders. The southwest region of the U.S. received $386 million in funding in the second quarter, with about $25.2 million in Nevada. The San Francisco area alone received about $5.6 billion. (source: CB Insights)
Neon wraps can light up the night for advertising
Vinyl wrap company 5150 Wraps talks about neon wraps, a new technology that the company believes can boost advertising at night. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nevada on the forefront of drone safety
Dr. Chris Walach, senior director of Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, talks to a reporter at NIAS's new Nevada Drone Center for Excellence of Public Safety, located inside the Switch Innevation Center in Las Vegas. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
Motel 8 on south Strip will become site of hotel-casino
Israeli hoteliers Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah bought Motel 8 on the south Strip for $7.4 million, records show. They plan to bulldoze the property and build a hotel-casino. Motel 8 was built in the 1960s and used to be one of several roadside inns on what's now the south Strip. But it looks out of place today, dwarfed by the towering Mandalay Bay right across the street.
Project billed as one of the world's largest marijuana dispensaries plans to open Nov. 1
Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler talks about what to expect from the new marijuana dispensary, Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Oasis Biotech opens in Las Vegas
Brock Leach, chief operating officer of Oasis Biotech, discusses the new plant factory at its grand opening on July 18. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Tech Park innovation building breaks ground
Construction on the first innovation building at the UNLV Tech Park is underway. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars Forum Meeting Center
Caesars broke ground Monday on its $375 million Caesars Forum Meeting Center (convention center) just east of the High Roller observation wheel. (Caesars Entertainment)
Technology reshapes the pawn shop industry
Devin Battersby attaches a black-colored device to the back of her iPhone and snaps several of the inside and outside of a Louis Vuitton wallet. The device, installed with artificial intelligence capabilities, analyzes the images using a patented microscopic technology. Within a few minutes, Battersby receives an answer on her app. The designer item is authentic.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Nevada for one year
Exhale Nevada CEO Pete Findley talks about the one year anniversary of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Young adults aren't saving for retirement
Financial advisors talk about saving trends among young adults. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like