There’s no arguing the fact some sellers will attempt to conceal certain problems. It’s just a reality. Fortunately, this bad behavior isn’t widespread. But, it does happen and buyers should be well-aware that it’s a possibility. Now, it’s not always nefarious. However, there are certain things to look out for when touring a home and especially during the inspections.
Signs Home Sellers are Trying to Hide Something
Putting yourself in a seller’s shoes will greatly help you to understand why it’s all-too-tempting to hide one or more issues. But, there are often telltale signs. For instance, if you hear music through most of the house, it’s not just to set the mood. It’s likely playing to distract from strange “house noises” or drown out street noise. Room fresheners or diffusers are another concealer — usually to cover-up pet odors, cigarette smoke, or even septic and sewer issues.
“While laws vary from state to state, generally speaking, sellers are responsible for disclosing only information within their personal knowledge that could affect the property value, such as structural defects, mold, and lead paint. Some issues, however, fall into a gray area that a home seller may try to conceal in order to get a top-dollar offer. To protect your investment, hire a certified home inspector before making an offer, and be on the lookout for the signs that a seller has something to hide.” —Bob Vila.com
Some warning signs are more subtle. For instance, since most open houses and showings are during midday, pay attention to the lights. Should practically every interior light be lit, that indicates a lack of natural light. Also, take notice of the living room. If there’s just a loveseat (and perhaps a chair) but no sofa, it means a couch will cramp the space. Meanwhile, the presence of fresh paint isn’t necessarily there to spruce up the space. It could be concealing things like mildew or mold issues.
Most Common House Problems Sellers Attempt to Conceal
Although these are notable issues, they are relatively minor to the big issues home sellers might try to hide. For instance, neighborhood changes are good examples. This is usually done through omission. The sellers know there’s heavy construction just around the corner scheduled in the future. But, might conveniently forget to mention it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. Here are the most common house problems sellers attempt to conceal:
- Water leaks. Water leaks are a real pain because they run up the utility bill and are very difficult to pinpoint. What’s more, a tiny leak could lead to a big-time expense. Here again, fresh paint might serve as the concealment. So, if you see fresh paint, ask why.
- Pest infestation. Pests are notorious for causing all types of damage — from minor to major. And, if the seller doesn’t want to scare away potential buyers, they might try to get away without disclosing the issue. This is why a pest inspection is so very important.
- Structural issues. Beware uneven floors, cracks in exterior (and interior) walls, as well as loose roof tiles or warped shingles. These all point to something seriously gone awry and most likely, extremely costly.
- Failing mechanical systems. Central air and heat, drains and faucets, electrical switches and outlets are all part of the property’s systems. So, if it feels warm and the air conditioner is on or there are rings in sinks or tubs indicating a drainage problem, inquire about them.
If you are considering buying or selling a home in Orlando, contact us for the latest market information. We’ll also provide you with the right advice about the local real estate market so you make the best decisions.