If you’re like many people, you’re excited to start seeing homes for sale in Boca Raton – there’s a good chance that you’re going to find your dream house here. But a little bit of caution is in order: You’ll want to watch out for these seven red flags so you don’t get your hopes up on a house that isn’t right for you.
7 Red Flags to Watch for When You Tour Homes in Boca Raton
Your REALTOR® will be with you when you’re touring homes for sale in Boca Raton, but here’s a heads-up on some of the things that should make you think twice about a house:
- Overwhelming scents
- Sloping floors
- Bad tiling or hardwood flooring
- Signs that maintenance isn’t the owner’s priority
- Water damage
- Cosmetic “fixes” that hide defects
- Sticky windows and doors
Here’s a closer look at each.
Red Flag #1: Overwhelming scents
You don’t want to tour a stinky house, and sellers know that – but the greater the synthetic scent in the house is, the more likely it is that the seller is trying to hide an offensive odor. Sure, you’ll smell detergent and fabric softener in the laundry room, and you may smell freshly baked cookies throughout the house (that’s a common trick sellers use to make you feel right at home)… but if there are candles, wax warmers and other air freshener scents all over the place, the seller might be covering up something that’s far worse.
Red Flag #2: Sloping floors
Sloping floors are a sign that a home has foundation problems. So are large cracks in the walls and cracks above window frames. If you feel like a floor is sloped, roll a marble across it and see what happens – you’ll be able to tell if it’s uneven. Though your home inspector will discover the issue if you make an offer, it’s best not to hinge your hopes on a house that’s likely to have such a major issue in the first place.
Related: How to nip dog odor before you put your house on the market
Red Flag #3: Bad tiling or hardwood flooring
If the tile or hardwood flooring looks sloppy, there’s a good chance that it was a DIY job – and while there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, it may be a sign that you’ll have to drop big bucks on repairs or replacement in the future. It may also indicate that the home has had other DIY repairs done, and you’ll want to find out when, how and what they were if that’s the case.
Red Flag #4: Signs that maintenance isn’t the owner’s priority
Though we all get busy and leave a burned-out lightbulb in place from time to time, you should check for signs that property maintenance has been put off. Attentive homeowners typically change air filters frequently, have the roof inspected and recaulk around windows and doors when necessary – but those who don’t conduct routine property maintenance let things like those go. That can spell trouble for you if you buy, because a poorly maintained home can have damage you won’t discover until it’s too late.
Related: Does your dog hate these five things about your house?
Red Flag #5: Water damage
Leaky houses are expensive to fix – not just because the source of the leak needs to be repaired, but because every place water touches must be checked, fixed and maintained. Do the sniff test: If an area smells musty or moldy, there’s a good chance that water is (or was) present. Check the walls and ceilings for discoloration, which can mean that water has soaked in. Open bathroom and kitchen cabinets to look for signs of leaks there, too.
Red Flag #6: Cosmetic “fixes” that hide defects
Many homeowners repaint their homes’ interiors before selling – that’s pretty common. But if there’s a fresh cosmetic fix, like one painted wall, it may be a sign that the seller is covering up something they don’t want buyers to see. You should also lift up area rugs to check the floors beneath, which could be hiding pet damage, water damage or something else.
Related: Should you buy a single-family home or a condo in Boca Raton?
Red Flag #7: Sticky windows and doors
Windows or doors that don’t open or close smoothly could be a sign that the home has foundation damage. If the frames look lopsided or you have trouble moving them, it could also be a sign of poor installation. Either way, both fixes are expensive – and if you buy the home as-is, you’ll be footing the bill.
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