Buying a house is one of the biggest purchases we will make in our lives. So, of course, we want to get it right the first time, right? Even if the house seems like it’s a great deal, you may accidentally buy the wrong property for your forever-home. Here are 10 big red flags to watch out for before you commit to buying a house.
10. Closed Businesses & Empty Storefronts
After the financial crisis of 2008, it was all too common to see stores shutting down across the United States. However, after 11 years of the recession, many towns are beginning to bounce back with new life. If you see a lot of closed shops in town, this may be a sign that the local economy is still suffering. Even if you plan to commute to work and do your shopping elsewhere, these towns may have a higher crime rate, poverty, and generally poor infrastructure.
9. Loads of Houses on the Market
If a town has a lot of houses on the market all at once, you have to wonder- Why are they leaving? Before you commit to moving to a new town, check the news to see what has been going on in that local area. You may discover that there was an increase in crime, or some other serious reason why people are leaving in droves.
8. Badly Maintained Homes
On Fixer Upper, they often give the advice that you should find the “worst house in the best neighborhood”….And you should never do it the other way around! If you find the best house in the worst neighborhood, you are probably in serious trouble.
Badly maintained homes are a sign that the owners can no longer afford to take care of their house. This may mean that they will end up abandoning the home, which will bring down your property value, as well. If a house becomes abandoned, it will also become the perfect place for locals to do illegal activities inside.
7. School Enrollment Rate Drops
Before you move into a new town, check the local school’s enrollment rate. If the numbers have suddenly dropped, or they are on a steady decline, it is a sign that there is something wrong with that school system. It may be drama with the staff, bullying, or a general low-quality education. If you want to get more insight, you might want to stop by the local municipal building to see if you can find out more.
6. Industrial Areas
Be extremely careful with buying a house that is near an industrial area. You never know what kind of harmful chemicals or waste may be lingering in the air. Historically, living in an industrial area is known to be bad for your health, and more people tended to catch diseases compared to non-industrial areas. It often has bad living conditions, and can be a lot dirtier than residential areas, too. The situation becomes a lot worse if it is situated near a chemical or nuclear power facility.
5. Little-to-no Parking
If you do not have your own driveway, or you have more than one car, it may become necessary for you to find parking on the street. Take a drive around the block during busy times of the day. Is there anywhere to park? Are you going to have to walk two blocks down the road to your own house? Some jurisdictions also have strict rules about only parking on one side of the street, and being exactly one foot away from the curb. It would be terrible to receive parking tickets right outside your own home.
4. Strict HOA Regulations
Even in a well-manicured community, there still may be issues. Some developments have a Home Owner’s Association, or “HOA”, which sets rules and regulations for everyone living in the area. Typically, they have rules that everyone must mow their lawn, and they cannot paint their house an abnormal color.
However, some Home Owner’s Associations are far too strict. For example, some towns have rules against planting “too many roses” or that people have to carry their dogs instead of walking them on a leash (yes, even if they’re large.)
3. Local Crime Rates
If you buy a house in an area with a high level of crime, you just may be asking for trouble. No one wants to raise their child in an area where they are more likely to encounter violence and substance abuse. If the house you are considering has been sitting on the market for a long time, chances are that people may have broken into the basement to steal the copper piping. Before you even think buying a house, always check out its crime rating on Neighborhood Scout.
2. Abandoned Houses
If you see an abandoned house on the same street as the house you are considering, this is a huge red flag. Whenever a house has been sitting for a long time, this can bring down the property value for the rest of the neighborhood. It also becomes a hotbed for illegal activity. It can also be dangerous if you have young kids who may be curious about exploring inside.
1. Railroad Tracks
Houses that are situated next to a train track are always cheaper, for good reason. Trains usually go by at least once or twice a day, and sometimes in the middle of the night. For anyone who lives near the tracks, they already know that the loud noise and vibration from the passing train is enough to drive you crazy. If you want peace and quiet, try to live as far away from the tracks as humanly possible.