Foundation Problems & 4 Other Problems Sellers Hide
Buyer Beware: 5 Things Sellers Try to Hide
Whether you’re a first-time buyer or experienced house hunter, the process of purchasing a home comes with plenty of risk. Some sellers try to conceal problems with a home during the selling process, especially if they involve major structural issues. Here are five of the top things a seller might try to hide, and what to do about it.
- Foundation problems: If the paint in a home looks a bit uneven around windows and doors, look closely to see if it’s being used to hide jagged cracks in the wall. If so, it may be a sign of foundation problems, which can be dangerous and extremely costly to repair. Weak foundations don’t just keep doors and cabinets from closing; they can also cause support beams to snap from stress and impact a home’s resale value. Even new homes can have foundation problems that may not arise until long after a typical builders warranty has expired. For this reason, many buyers request 10-year structural foundation warranty protection to insure against potentially serious problems with new homes.
- Pests: Even a flawless-looking home could have termites eating away the insides of walls. Since pest disclosure laws vary from state to state, it’s important to do your due diligence to make sure you won’t be stuck with an infestation problem.
- Water damage: Yellow and brown water stains aren’t just eyesores; they are signs of potentially serious leaks that can lead to rot and mold. They are also relatively easy to hide through staging and strategic decorating. Sellers may also try to hide water intrusion in basements with suitcases or boxes. Make sure to get a thorough inspection, and ask the sellers when they painted last. If it was over a year ago, they probably aren’t trying to conceal water stains.
- The age of systems: Some sellers try to hide the ages of HVAC systems and water heaters by saying they simply don’t know. A good home inspector can easily determine the age and condition of major home systems. If the sellers can’t give you this information, it’s likely a sign that they are dishonest, disconnected or uninvolved. In this case, it may be better to move on.
- Deck damage: What looks like a freshly painted deck may actually be a cover-up. Certain sellers will add a few coats of paint to mask splintering, wood rot, water damage or carpenter ants. If the sellers say the deck was recently painted, ask your inspector to take a close look at the structure to make sure there aren’t any hidden problems.
Guarding Against Troubles
To reduce your risk of nasty surprises, don’t just limit your questions to your agent. Ask neighbors why the owners are selling and if they’ve recently seen any repair trucks outside. You should also ask for references and seek a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (C.L.U.E.) Report from the homeowner’s insurance agent. Whatever you do, be diligent in getting questions answered and try to remain patient while you look for hidden issues.
2-10 HBW offers the most comprehensive coverage for homeowners. Let us help you get started with a Home Warranty today!