3 alarm bells to look out for when buying a home

Brent Palmer
Brent Palmer
Published on May 28, 2018

Let’s call them “alarm bells”, “red flags” or “warning signs”, the things that makes you have second thoughts or activates your spidey sense. There are certain symptoms of a sick home that you need to be aware of before you fall in love with it. To avoid disappointment or upset down the track, do your homework now.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should call in the specialists straight away. Have a look at everything thoroughly and if you’re not satisfied or have any reservations, check it out!!

But what we’ll look at today are the biggies – those items that require emptying your bank account to have repaired. They don’t necessarily need to be considered deal breakers. If you love the house, even with the cost of fixing it up a bit, and you’re still within your budget that’s fantastic. If you have found something, you can get the right professionals to have a look and let you know what the cost to repair or replace might be and you can decide before buying. Knowledge is power.

If you do happen to find something amiss with the home that’s almost yours, don’t panic. Better to know now rather than later. You can always add it in that the seller fix it before purchase if appropriate or know how much you are looking at to fix it when it’s yours. While we all love surprises from time to time, home issues are not one of them.

So, let’s take a look at a few of the big problems and some of the clues to look for.

What’s that smell?

Can you imagine taking a shower and being greeted by raw sewage bubbling up through the drain? Unfortunately, it can happen, all be it rare. Consider foul smells coming from the homes drain a clue for further investigation. The same goes for smells outside too, such as near the homes drains or septic system.

Then, test the drains. Simply turn on the taps and watch the water drain. If it drains slowly, or you hear gurgling sounds from the drain (or from the toilet), call in a plumber, better to be safe than sorry.

Sewer fixes aren’t cheap. Tree-root-damaged lines can cost an eye watering amount. Or you might be lucky and it could be something simple to fix. Give one of the experts a ring.

What’s underneath?

By underneath I mean the thing the house sits on, piles or foundation. This is what keeps your beautiful new home straight and stable.

A home’s foundation has three functions:

  1. Support the weight of the entire house.
  2. Help the home withstand natural disasters.
  3. Keep ground moisture from seeping into the structure.

Foundation repairs can be very costly. If the house needs major repairs and requires hydraulic piers to raise it up while being fixed then it might be time to pass on this one and move on. If its minor cracks you’re looking at, a small repair cost for the right house might still be an option.

Look for sloping or sagging floors (especially in more recently-built homes), cracks in the foundation, walls and floors, doors that don’t operate properly and gaps around window frames or exterior doors.

If you have any concerns about the above issues then it’s time to call for some expert advice. Check out the link for what sort of services are on offer.

How’s the plumbing

Low water pressure is a lot more than an annoyance when trying to rinse the soap off your body in the shower. It may be a symptom of major plumbing problems.

Many causes of low water pressure can be simple and easy to fix. You may just have a clog someplace in the line or mineral deposits in the faucet or shower head.

Cracks or other damage to pipes, however, may result in a leak and that too would lower the water pressure. Look for evidence of leaks such as damp spots on the floors and walls, signs of mould or a hissing sound when the water is running.

Leak repair can be costly, especially if the leak is in a tough spot to fix.

Bring in a plumber if need be to have a look for you, they will be able to tell you what’s wrong, if anything, and what you are looking at to have it repaired.

If you suspect any problems in the home that the home inspection didn’t turn up, we urge you to bring in a specialist. An independent building inspector can put your mind at ease about cracks in the foundation and a plumbing contractor can give you an idea of the state of the home’s plumbing.



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Brent Palmer – Professional Real Estate Consultant

About the Author: The above article on 3 alarm bells to look out for when buying a home was written and provided by Brent Palmer, a local leader in the field of Richmond and Nelson Real Estate sales, marketing, advanced technology for home selling, and social media. You can contact Brent Palmer here, or at 027 544 9921.

He has helped many people buy and sell homes in the Nelson, Stoke and Richmond areas for years, and would love the opportunity to help you as well.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a real passion for helping people sell their homes in our Nelson and Tasman Region, as well as the marketing, social media & advanced technology for home selling that goes along with it. I’d love to have the opportunity to sit down with you discuss how we can work together to get you the best price.

I help people buy and sell real estate in the following Nelson and Tasman  towns  & neighbourhoods: Wakefield, Brightwater, Hope, Appleby, Redwood Valley, Mapua, Stoke, Tahunanui, Atawhai and of course, Richmond and Nelson City. Connect with Brent on Facebook and pretty much everywhere else.

Know someone who needs help with real estate? Be rewarded and REFER them here