Not all home sellers are completely truthful about the condition of their property. It is unfortunate that if you were to hire a professional inspector for each viewing, it would get incredibly expensive. Thus, here are a few things that you can spot yourself, telling you to avoid the purchase.
First, inspect the neighborhood. Does it look like everybody is leaving? Talk to your potential new neighbors and ask what the area is like. Next, look at the land. If you notice that the yard is on a downwards slope towards the property, the foundations could be affected by rain water. Noticing bad smells, both in and out of the property is problematic too. Bugs and insects are a bad sign as well. If there have been bugs or insects, people in the street are likely to know about it, so ask them.
Next, it is time to look at how the property was treated by the current owners. Find out whether it was maintained properly. If you notice that there is a lack of structural maintenance on the outside, the inside will probably be the same. Check the wiring as well. Real issues can only be identified by a qualified professional, but you can get a good idea yourself. If lights flicker or outlets are warm, there is a chance that the wiring is faulty. Similarly, if you notice that there is a single wall, or just a few walls that have been painted very recently, where others haven’t, the owners may be hiding something. Next, look closely at the windows. Look at whether the windows have mold or condensation or are hard to open; this could be a sign of expensive problems.If an owner declares certain rooms as “off limit”, then go find a different home to buy. Additionally, if you notice that any structural work has been done, such as the removal of walls or floors, you need to find out whether that work was done properly by a qualified architect.
Basically, you should not purchase a property that has not gone through a professional inspection. With the information above, you should be able to tell whether or not you might want to hire a professional inspector, or whether it is a clear no on the purchase. If the property does have problems, you can decide to walk away from it, or you can demand a substantial discount in order to pay for the repairs. Also, always trust the advice of home inspectors. Home inspectors will tell you honestly whether or not a certain property is worth investing in.