A knowledgeable real estate agent and a thorough home inspection can protect buyers from purchasing a home with major defects. It still helps, though, to know what to look for when it comes to the less obvious telltale signs of a problem. Here are four red flags buyers might not know about homes but should:
It's easy to see cracks in a foundation or evidence of moisture in a basement or crawl space, but doors that don't close properly can be an indicator of less obvious problems with a foundation. A shifting house or excessive moisture can cause doors to function improperly. One door that doesn't close all the way could just be off—maybe not properly installed—but multiple doors with closing or even opening problems could be a sign of something more insidious.
Poor Water Pressure
When touring a house for sale, home buyers may want to open up some faucets. A cheap showerhead can lead to a shower that trickles rather than showers, but if multiple faucets seem to have poor water pressure, it could mean a plumbing problem exists. A home inspection can uncover this too, but it's an easy check for home buyers to do themselves when walking through a home that's for sale.
If there are water stains on a ceiling, it means there is or has been a leak. It would be rare, however, for a home to be put on the market without the seller having been advised to fix the water stains. That means buyers should also be on the lookout for other irregularities on ceilings. Are they painted in some rooms but not others? Are there parts of the ceiling that don't quite match the rest? If it appears as though there's been work done to a ceiling, a home buyer should ask about leaks.
Overworked Sump Pump
Sump pumps are put in homes to move water from the foundation. A sump pump that runs when it's wet is doing its job, but one that runs frequently could mean the foundation is vulnerable to more water than it should be. Buyers should check the exterior of the home for proper grading; for example, does the ground slope away from the home or toward it? Water and foundations don't mix, and you want to ensure you don't have expensive problems later.