Every realtor is going to enjoy seeing their clients take a strong and sometimes even passionate interest in buying a certain home they’ve seen. As much as you’ll want to foster that enthusiasm for them, it’s also a part of your responsibility to temper that enthusiasm if you see any warning signs for the home that they’re not able to see. For an experienced realtor it will be easier to make those assessments, but for someone who’s newer to the business it may be more challenging to spot potential ‘red flags.’
Here at Real Estate Leads, our online real estate lead generation system for Canada is proven effective for giving realtors a leg up when it comes to prospecting for new clients. Once you’ve made those connections, you then of course have the opportunity to start down the path to finding the perfect home for your clients, or the perfect buyer FOR their home.
Your knowledge and expertise is expected, so here’s 5 clues to look for that may suggest an otherwise ‘appealing’ home may not be as appealing as it appears.
- Sagging or Visibly Distressed Roof
A sagging roof or one that has missing or curling shingles could indicate water damage or rot beneath the exterior. This is very common in locations that have milder and wetter winters, and you can also look for moss growth as an indicator too. Water stains on top-floor ceilings are a good indicator that the problem is extensive.The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, states that the lifespan of a roof is usually between 20 and 25 years, so a realtor should ask about the age of the one on homes being viewed if there’s any suspicions.
- Water Supply Issues
We’ll assume most of you aren’t plumbers on the side, so while you may not be a pipes expert you may be able to spot any obvious problems by flushing the toilet, running the taps, and turning on the shower. Be on the lookout for slow drainage, leaky faucets, or low water pressure, as well as mildew beneath sink enclosures – a sign of slow leaks. Rooting out the sources of these plumbing issues could be time-consuming and costly.
- Patchy Fresh Paint
This one can be an immediate red flag in many cases. Sure, there’s nothing unusual about homeowners painting before they sell, but finding a few freshly-painted spots on the walls or ceilings could be an indication that some kind of damage was covered up very recently. The extent of the damage underneath could vary considerably, from water stains to smoke damage to worst of all – mould. If you see this, ask right away and if necessary ask for a home inspector assessment if your clients still wish to move ahead.
- Wet basements
Again, this can be an immediate red flag too, and believe us when we say that drainage problems are often HUGE problems. Keep in mind that water problems in the basement may only occur once or twice a year and be immediately visible at those times, but you can see evidence of them after with the appearance of the walls, both a the ceiling and at floor levels. Changes in the paint texture near the floor may indicate water has pooled on the walls, and drywall seams occurring roughly a foot above the floor often indicate repair work after flooding. Take a long look at exposed joists or studs for water stains, and look to see whether bricks show signs of spalling. And if there’s a dehumidifier resting in the corner of the room, that’s a big-time indicator right there.
- Improper grading
One of the ways water ingress problems in the basement can be identified elsewhere is with a yard that slopes toward the foundation of the house, instead of away from it. Improper grading can also eventually promote foundational deterioration and poor drainage in the yard, so it a sloping backyard is something you always want to take note of for your clients. You can often sense or see the slope of the grade, and if you can actually see pooling water in the yard – especially near the house – it’s something that’s going to warrant further consideration.
Identifying any of these signs may suggest that even the most functionally and aesthetically appealing home may not have been well maintained or is not soundly built. Before crossing the property off your list, however, speak with the seller’s agent to find out more – but of course be wary of the validity of the information you receive and do your own follow-ups as necessary.
Last but not least, home inspectors provide a VERY valuable resource for prospective homebuyers and if you haven’t made professional acquaintances with one already, you really should!
Sign up with Real Estate Leads here and receive a monthly quota of qualified, online-generated leads delivered to you and only you for your similarly exclusive area of any city or town of your choosing across Canada. It’s a dynamite way to supercharge your real estate client prospecting efforts, and as we all know – it’s the early bird that always gets the worm!