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House Hunting Red Flags to Watch Out For

There’s a certain amount of risk in buying a home and it can be scary to walk into a property not knowing what issues may have been left off the MLS or if the sellers will be easy and reasonable to work with. But it doesn’t all have to be guesswork. The next time you attend an open house, be sure to watch out for these red flags.

A Poorly Cared for Property

If you notice right off the bat that the home doesn’t look loved, be on your guard. Poorly maintained landscaping, a messy interior, or rooms that haven’t been cleaned can indicate that the sellers haven’t taken good care of the property. Dirty floors might not seem like a huge deal, they can be cleaned after all, but that could indicate disregard for larger issues like an aging roof or amateur repairs that could prove dangerous.

Moisture Problems

This is a biggie. If you see any standing water or dampness in the basement, start asking some serious questions. Boston homes are very old and often experience water issues due to porous foundations. But excessive moisture in a basement can lead to rust on boilers, furnaces, and hot water tanks which can cause them to not work properly and to need costly replacement parts. Buckled floors, stains on the ceiling, and the smell of mold or mildew are also signs of a moisture problem in this house. Find out whether the seller has addressed this issue, and if they haven’t, it might be time to hightail it out of there.

A Disorganized Seller

This could be on the part of the seller or the seller’s agent, but it can cause massive problems down the line. If you notice disorganization in the seller/seller agent’s manners, scheduling challenges, difficulty getting them on the phone, or you find them unfriendly and unaccommodating, be careful as you proceed. Buying a home is stressful enough; you don’t want to have to also deal with erratic or aggressive sellers.

Outdated Electrical

This is another major problem of the older homes in the Boston area, but it’s easier to check for than you think. Look for the electrical outlets in each room. Older homes often only have two prong outlets instead of three (your laptop is not going to be into that) and sometimes there are only one or two outlets in a room. Not only is this problematic on an outlet usage level, if you want to make major renovations in a home with outdated electrical you may be required to revamp the electric work in the entire house to do so.

The best way to avoid red flags like these is to work with a buyer’s agent who can spot problems in a property a mile away. Great news is, there’s us! Give Nextdoor Realty Team a ring at 617-942-1741 or email us at to learn how we can help you through the buying process from the word “go.”


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