Angie’s List: When to walk away: Red flags in the home buying process

Buying a home is an incredibly exciting decision, but it rarely goes as smoothly as we hope. ...
Buying a home is an incredibly exciting decision, but it rarely goes as smoothly as we hope. (Source:Pixabay)
Updated: Feb. 8, 2019 at 11:33 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -Buying a home is an incredibly exciting decision, but it rarely goes as smoothly as we hope.

From questions about the neighbors, to surprises on the inspection report, add in the nerves associated with making one of the biggest investments of your life, and it begs the question: how do consumers know whether to take the plunge or walk away?

To begin, work with people who are knowledgeable and honest.

“When deciding whether to buy, trust your professionals. A good home inspector should point out potential problems in the home and your realtor should be able to negotiate having those fixed or a lower price,” co-founder of Angie’s List, Angie Hicks says.

Those professionals are looking for the little red flags that might not seem like much to the untrained eye, but can add up to big problems.

“Talking about red flags in the homebuying process, one thing that I believe is very important is to keep an eye on deferred maintenance on a house. Deferred maintenance is typically a good symptom for how the house has been treated over the years,” realtor with Carpenter Realtors, Reinhard Pollach says.

For instance, small drainage problems can require big fixes if left unattended for years. The cost to repair the foundation could come with a big price tag, and a more involved project.

If a number of red flags come back on your inspection report, weigh your options carefully. Do you have the budget, the time and the patience to deal with a big project? If not, you might want to walk away," Hicks says.

When red flags become deal-breakers, typically that evolves into a problem that can’t be easily remedied, or a seller is unable or unwilling to make corrections and the buyer doesn’t have the resources to do it properly, then I would definitely walk away," Pollach says.

You might lose a bit of money by walking away during the homebuying process, but it’s better to get out early if the home’s requirements aren’t right for you.

The home buying process can be very emotional, so I always encourage my clients to take notes, write it down, the pluses and the minuses of a property," Pollach says.

Your notes will be invaluable as you weigh the pros and cons when a house you fell in love with has surprise red-flags.

Because ultimately, the emotions will go away but the facts will remain and it’s very important that we make a rational decision in that process, Pollach says.

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