SINGAPORE: Deciding to own a home is a huge financial commitment, and it’s crucial to be aware of potential red flags when buying a house.

Real estate experts highlight ten “red flags” that prospective homebuyers should be mindful of during their property search, as reported by Yahoo Finance.

10 Red Flags When Buying a House

  1. Foundation Issues: Small cracks in walls or ceilings, dismissed as cosmetic, may indicate more severe foundation problems, especially if they exceed one-third inch. Bulges in the foundation could signal issues related to water drainage or ground shifts.
  2. Electrical Hazards: Outdated electrical systems pose potential dangers, as highlighted by Pete Evering from Utopia Property Management. These systems might not meet contemporary safety standards, leading to risks such as fires or shocks. The process of rewiring a property can be complicated and costly.
  3. Water Damage Indicators: Water stains on walls or ceilings might suggest underlying water damage. Rick Gruebele, a real estate broker at Visions First Realty, LLC, advises caution regarding musty odours, discoloured patches, or peeling paint, as these could indicate hidden moisture issues.
  4. Hidden Mold Concerns: Unpleasant, mouldy smells in a home may suggest hidden mould problems arising from leaks or floods. Mould poses health risks and complicates future home sales, as sellers are obligated to disclose any mould issues.
  5. Neighbourhood Red Flags: A high number of homes for sale in a neighbourhood could be a cause for concern, potentially signalling issues such as increasing crime rates, problems with the homeowners’ association (HOA), or a generally less desirable neighbourhood.
  6. Window Issues: Foggy windows, though not necessarily a deal-breaker, could indicate an expensive problem. Ageing dual-pane windows may allow moisture to seep in, requiring costly repairs or replacements.
  7. Exterior Maintenance: The exterior condition of a home often mirrors its overall maintenance. A poorly maintained exterior might suggest the need for repairs within the house.
  8. Pest and Insect Presence: The presence of noticeable pests or insects, particularly termites and carpenter ants, can cause structural damage, leading to expensive and challenging repairs. Additionally, some pests are challenging to eliminate once they infest a property.
  9. Paint Cover-Ups: While sellers often repaint their homes for aesthetic reasons, the presence of fresh paint on a single wall may raise suspicions. This could be an attempt to conceal issues like mould or mildew.
  10. Lawn Drainage Concerns: The sight of standing water in a property’s lawn may indicate drainage problems, potentially leading to puddles or flooding. Rectifying this issue may require costly alterations to the yard.
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These 10 red flags when buying a house may not render a home “inhabitable”, but they can be costly and troublesome. Prospective buyers are advised to carefully check these warning signs and consider walking away from a purchase if multiple issues exist. Keep in mind that other homes are likely available with fewer or less expensive problems. /TISG