When the housing market is hot and you are ready to strike, you might find yourself combing through listings on a daily, if not hourly basis trying to snag the next great place that pops up. Submitting an offer early is crucial to snagging a great property for an attractive price, but it's important to know the signs that the house may need a lot of work. Here are three ways to tell that real estate listing may need a little TLC.
1. Unoccupied Property
When previous occupants have been evicted, homes can sit unoccupied for months, if not years. Sometimes, the bank in charge of the property will use this time to complete necessary repairs, while other times, the home may truly sit vacant. Unfortunately, homes can develop several significant issues if they are left untouched, such as issues with pest infestations, mold growth, or plumbing damage.
Anytime you can tell that the home has been unoccupied for a long period of time, it should signal to you that the house will need a lot of work. Always assume a property that hasn't been lived in for awhile will have some issues, and be prepared to address those problems after you move in. If you want to flip the home, then this may be a great way to get a home for cheap, fix it up, and sell it for more then you paid for it.
2. Dated Photos
Sometimes, you can tell a lot about a house just by comparing the listing photos to the way the property looks around the time it is listed. If the photos shown are clearly dated, and show the property during a different season, you can rest assured that the home may need some work.
To find out if the property looks dated, find the property address, drive to the home, and compare the listing photos in real time to the house. If there are clear discrepancies, the home may need some work.
3. Notices That Previous Sales "Fell Through"
Sometimes, you will follow a home on the market for awhile, see it go under contract and disappear, and then pop back onto the market with a note that the previous sale fell through. If that happens, it could be a sign that home was under contract and underwent a home inspection, but failed for some reason. But it could also mean the previous buyer's financing fell through.
Anytime you find a home where the sellers or the representing agent are honest and open about the property needing work, it's important to understand the scope of work you should expect. Look through some real estate listings and ask a professional any questions you have about the properties.