Should These Red Flags Scare You Away?

Woman scared of buying the wrong house

You’re ready to buy a home, and you’ve been shopping for months. But do you know what to avoid when making a final decision?

While we can’t say for sure whether haunted houses are real, we have a premonition there are things you shouldn’t overlook.

1. Bad neighbors 

No matter how fantastic a house is, the wrong neighbors can make for a terrifying homeowner experience. If you have a chance to talk with the neighbors when you’re checking out a listing, we highly recommend it. You can also browse neighborhood groups on social media before you put in an offer. 

There are many ways to check out local crime statistics, too. Spotcrime.com is a great place to start, and you can see everything from recent burglaries and theft to arson, assault, and arrests.

2. Nearby noise

It’s not just neighbors who can make a neighborhood unpleasant—certain structures in the vicinity can also put a dent in property values. While the following may not be automatic dealbreakers for you, they may scare some buyers away.

  • Strip clubs or bars
  • Homeless shelters
  • Funeral homes
  • Power plants
  • Shooting ranges
  • Fire stations
  • Hospitals
  • Community centers
  • Train tracks
  • Highways and freeways
3. Unsightly exterior

If the curb appeal of the home you’re considering leaves something to be desired, the home could be suffering from deferred maintenance. It’s one of the biggest red flags out there, and it could even put your financing at risk.

Look for hints such as a leaky roof, damaged siding, fascia and soffits that are a little worse for wear, or heating and air conditioning units that are particularly noisy. If you still decide to make an offer, there’s a chance you could get the seller to pay for repairs (or drop the sales price accordingly) after inspection.

4. Poor décor

While décor is rarely permanent, poor choices from previous owners can make a move pretty unpleasant. Wall-to-wall shag carpeting could overwhelm a modern aesthetic. On the flip side, a home bedazzled in rhinestones and brightly colored accent walls might be too much for some buyers to handle.

If you don’t like what you see, it’s a good idea to think about how much repairs and renovations will cost as you determine how much mortgage you can afford.

5. Neighborhood foreclosures

It’s sad but true that homeowners sometimes default on their mortgages. If they can’t sell their homes for more than they received in financing, there’s a chance they could default.

If this happens too often in a neighborhood you’re considering, prices will suffer. According to researchers from MIT, each foreclosure in a half-mile radius can lower the selling price of other (non-foreclosure) properties by nearly 1%.

Work closely with your home finance team to determine whether this factor could impact your purchase.

Never fear! The pros are here

Whether you’re just starting to dream about owning a house or ready to put in an offer on a place you love, it helps to have experienced professionals by your side.

Your Castle & Cooke Mortgage loan officer can help you find financing that suits your situation, and your real estate agent can help answer any questions you may have about warning signs you see on specific homes.

To learn more about how home prices are set, check out our six-part series on the topic.

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