Red Flags to Look for When House Hunting

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house red flags looking for a house

If you are out looking for a house online, be wary of potential sellers who don’t disclose all the important details of a house. Having a keen eye to see the red flags in a house will save you money that you would have used to repair the house or even remove the likelihood of you moving out.

What are these red flags we are talking about?

No interior images

You don’t know what you’re paying for if the property doesn’t have photos of the interior. If it doesn’t state why there are no interior images, then think twice about it.

If certain rooms of the house are not present, ask the real estate agent or company where you have seen the property the reason for not including them. Conmen have a habit of picking images from the internet and advertising a fake property. To avoid getting scammed, always ask to see more pictures.

The price is too good to be true

Before you settle on a house whether you’re renting or buying, you must have done some research about the prices of houses in the area you’re considering. If the one you find is against the market rate and the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Avoid sending money to anyone before you have done your due diligence and confirmed that the house is vacant and available. We are sure you’ve heard of the many ways that people are getting scammed in this country.

The house is on a busy road

street with bikes

Where do we begin with this one? Imagine trying to catch up on your sleep on a Saturday morning and being woken up by the annoying noise of cars on the road or matatus honking? The horror!

But how can you tell if a house is near the highway? Look at the photos of the exterior closely. Depending on the angle of the image, you can tell the location. Make a point of visiting the area to see the location of the house.

Staying close to the road not only means you have to deal with traffic noise but it is also a health hazard to you and your family due to the pollution.

Many vacant houses in the same area

When house hunting, have you come across an apartment that has been vacant for the longest time? What could be the reason for this? It could be a new house or an issue with the price, the house being in bad condition, a stubborn landlord or there’s a court case.

Don’t be naive and decide to pay without doing a background check. If possible, ask around the neighbourhood and speak to the locals in that area. They usually have intel on what’s happening.

The house has cracks

It is normal for a house to have wear and tear if it’s not new. But if you notice that it has cracks which are more than half an inch, this is a red flag meaning it has a weak foundation and structural damages.

Be on the lookout for cracks which seem to have new repair works on them. Patches are an indication that the house is not in good condition and is a safety hazard.

House that smells of mould

mould in a house

Imagine putting yourself and your family at risk by living in a house that has mould issues? Inhaling mould spores can cause respiratory problems for your health.

When you go to see the house and it has a damp smell, this could mean it has mould. How can you detect mould with your naked eye? Look under the sinks, on the walls, around the window sealings and check for water leaks. If there is a leak, chances are it has already affected the structure of that house which is usually costly to fix.

Do you want that type of headache on your hands?

Houses with fresh paint in weird places

We all want to move to a house with a fresh coat of paint especially if the house is old. But what if you notice that they’ve painted an area that you normally wouldn’t expect to be painted?

Or maybe you notice one side of the house is painted while the other is left as is? What could be the reason for that? Have a curious mind, ask questions and look around the house when you go to view.

Water stains and a saggy roof

stained roof

Another major red flag you should not ignore is water stains on the roof. If you see a roof which looks yellowish, that could mean a plumbing problem which has probably affected other areas of the house which are not visible.

Find out where the leak is coming from and if the landlord will fix it before you sign the agreement. Additionally, if you come across a roof that looks like it’s sagging, this could mean that the roof needs to be changed, there are insects eating it away or water that has affected it.

Knowing what is causing this problem will help you make an informed decision if you decide to move into that house.

Houses next to a swampy or stagnant water

People say that the best time to go house hunting is during the rainy season. Why? Because you will get to see the infrastructure leading to the house and the drainage system. If you find puddles of water, you will be dealing with a drainage and mosquito problem if you decide to move to that house.

Another point to note, water seeps through the perimeter wall very slowly which affects the basement. Be on the lookout for this red flag.

Conclusively

If you don’t pay attention to small details when looking for a house, it will lead to frustrations and cost you money once you move in. Houses have different defects in them, but it is up to you to decide what you are willing to fix and what is a deal-breaker. Because at the end of the day, you’re parting ways with your money and it needs to make sense to you and your pocket.

Maureen Mbithe
Content Writer at BuyRentKenya