Saving time and money in a red-hot housing market? Yes, please but the way some are choosing to do it is risky, experts say.
Many home buyers are choosing to skip the all-important home inspection.
"Some of that comes down to everybody's risk tolerance," said Josh Reed, President of Window World of Tidewater.
The company found passing on home inspections is becoming a more popular choice when so much can make or break whether an offering on a home is accepted.
Although it's not recommended, Reed says there are some things the average home buyer should watch out for if they want to avoid costly repairs down the road:
- Look for doors that don't close all the way. It could point to an issue with the home's framing.
- Water stains could mean a leak, rotting wood, even mold.
- Paint that looks out of place could be hiding a problem like mold.
- Is there a strong air freshener smell when you walk in? It's likely hiding something the seller doesn't want you to find.
- Are the windows sealed? Hold your hand in front of windows. If you feel air coming through, it could mean a higher electric bill.
- Cracks in the foundation that are wider than a half-inch could indicate structural issues.
- How old are the heating and air conditioning units? If they're older than 10-15 years, they could be less energy efficient.
- Open the garage door and listen for squealing or rattling sounds. Those could be a sign the door is out of balance.
- Look for any warped siding which could indicate rot.
- Don't ignore smaller issues like leaky faucets and out light bulbs. If the homeowner isn't fixing minor problems, are there major issues they're letting go?
Window World also suggests keeping an eye out for do-it-yourself repairs and improvements. A company survey found half of respondents have taken on those projects during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"If now you're going to buy a house there might be a renovation that was done by a homeowner, not a licensed or qualified contractor so now you're buying the potential problem," said Reed.
It could lead to a costly fix down the road. That's why it's so important to have a professional inspector check the home. At the very least, Reed recommends bringing an extra set of eyes to check things out.
"If you have a friend that is in the building or remodeling industry, maybe they can go along with you and do just a cursory look at things to make sure you're not getting over your head and buying a money pit-type house," he said.
A house that's more like a nightmare than a dream.