Buying a home requires many considerations. You may have your list of must-haves and your maximum budget. You have your financing in place, and you are searching your preferred neighborhoods for just the right place. Even when you find a place that checks every box on your list, there is still one more thing to consider.
Are you really getting what you think you are getting? In other words, is there something about the property you may be missing? Often, it is impossible to tell if there is something wrong with the house or property until you have had a chance to live in it for a while. Nevertheless, there are some red flags that may alert you to take a closer look before you sign any real estate contracts.
Price and pressure
The first thing you may notice, even before you drive past the property, is the price. A house that meets all your dreams but is selling below market value may have something seriously wrong, such as structural damage or tax issues the new owner would assume. On the other hand, a home that is priced much higher than its most recent sale may be the product of a flip. A thorough inspection is advisable.
Once you take a look inside the house, you may feel suspicious if the seller or agent begins to pressure you into making a quick decision. A seller with something to hide may even offer to lower the price or cover your closing fees if you waive the inspection. You may wish to do some research on the property or to walk away before you get any deeper into the deal.
Each state's disclosure laws are different, and Pennsylvania's are among those that require little more than the revelation of identifiable material defects. Therefore, the seller's disclosure statement may not identify the following items that may affect your decision:
- Criminal or violent incidents that occurred in the home
- High turnover of ownership
- High insurance rates because of the potential for flooding
- High crime rate in the neighborhood
- The house's proximity to farms, factories or other sources of noxious odors or other nuisances
The seller must tell you about any defects that may cost you money or alter your decision to purchase the house. A seller who covers such defects with cosmetic updates may be committing fraud. A fresh coat of paint that covers water stains on the ceiling may leave you with an expensive roof repair you had not expected and would not have chosen. If you end up in a circumstance like this, you would do well to seek advice about your legal options.