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If you’re like most people, you know that you should look out for obvious “red flags” when you’re searching for your dream home in Baltimore County or Howard County – but what are those red flags, and how serious are they? This guide explains.

5 Red Flags to Watch for When You Buy a Home in Baltimore County

Some homes look great on the surface. The yard is nicely maintained, the inside appears to be in good shape, and everything lines up… and in many cases, these homes are great buys. However, there are a few red flags to watch for so you don’t end up buying a lemon that you can’t wait to get rid of:

  1. Poor tiling in bathrooms or kitchens
  2. Aggressive scents
  3. Sticking doors and windows
  4. Leaky faucets, faded paint or long grass
  5. Black or gray spots in areas prone to dampness

Here’s a closer look at each.

Real Estate Red Flag #1: Poor Tiling in Bathrooms or Kitchens

Though poor tiling happens, it can be a sign that a DIY job has taken place – and while that may not always be a bad thing, it can be a sign that someone was cutting corners. Check to see if the house was flipped (purchased by an investor, fixed up and re-sold), or if the last owners bought it as a fixer-upper and made their own improvements without being in the remodeling business.

Related: Pros and cons of selling FSBO

Real Estate Red Flag #2: Aggressive Scents

Many homeowners will bake fresh cookies and leave them out or sizzle some cider on the stove just before a showing, and the pleasant aroma lingers – but if the scent is really aggressive, it may be a sign that the owners are trying to cover something up. When there’s too much fragrance in the home, such as candles, plug-ins and wax warmers, you should try to investigate what the scent is covering up.

Real Estate Red Flag #3: Sticking Doors and Windows

When windows and doors don’t open or close properly – especially when there’s a spot where they “stick,” it can indicate foundation problems with the home. If you notice windows or doors that aren’t easy to glide into place, look for cracks above window frames and uneven floors. (Pro tip: Put a marble on the floor and watch what it does.

Related: A homebuyer’s guide to home insurance

Real Estate Red Flag #4: Leaky Faucets, Faded Paint or Long Grass

Leaky faucets, faded paint and long grass are all signs that the current owner has let home maintenance fall by the wayside. Though many owners take good care of their homes and the things you see during showings may just be anomalies, it’s definitely worth checking into a home’s maintenance history and finding out whether there are likely to be long-term problems from foregoing easy fixes early on.

Real Estate Red Flag #5: Black or Gray Spots in Areas Prone to Dampness

Open cabinets – particularly those beneath sinks – and check for signs of mold. Often, you’ll see spots of brown or black around water pipes and drains. You should also check the caulk around faucets and tubs, and check for patches on ceilings beneath bathrooms.

Related: Common legal issues with selling a home FSBO in Maryland

Are You Buying or Selling a Home in Baltimore County or Howard County?

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