What Are Some Red Flags When Purchasing a New Home?

When buying a new home it is common to be overwhelmed with the unknown.  The emotions at the forefront of making such a large purchase can sometimes lead to overlooking some key concerns.  There are indicators that every buyer should be aware of while viewing potential properties.  Always be aware of things like age of the roof, the viability of the furnace and duct work, when the water heater was last replaced and potential water and structural damage.

Buyers should always look at each home critically and be aware of any red flags prior to completing a home purchase.  A red flag is defined as, “something that indicates or draws attention to a problem, danger, or irregularity.”  It is important to be knowledgeable of any problems that are on the horizon when making such a life changing purchase.

Top Home Buying Red Flags –

 #1: Potential Foundation/Structural Problems

One of the most costly repairs to a home is correcting foundation problems.  The foundation of a home is arguably the most important part of a home.  A home with a problematic foundation can cost a homeowner thousands of dollars to correct a problem.

When looking at homes, it’s important to be aware of the foundation.  If the home has an unfinished basement it can be relatively easy to see if there is any cracking in the foundation.  Minor cracking may only be a sign of settling in the home, however, large cracks can be a sign of structural problems with the foundation.

If a home doesn’t have a basement or has a finished basement that doesn’t allow for you to look at the foundation, another way to tell if a home is possibly experiencing structural problems is by looking at the door frames throughout the home.  If the door frames seem not to be square or the doors seem to have difficulty closing, it’s possible there could be some problems with the home’s structure.

#2: Pest and/or Insect Problems

Depending on the area of the home, there are certain pest and insects that buyers need to be aware of.  Many pests, especially wood destroying pests, can cause damage to a home that can cost thousands of dollars to rectify.  The most common pests that should raise red flags include termites, powder post beetles, and carpenter ants.

Generally speaking, the cost of a pest inspection is fairly inexpensive.  The cost of a pest inspection is absolutely worth it since a pest or insect problem can cost a significant amount of money to correct.

#3: Random Fresh Paint

One of the best ways to prepare a home on a budget for sale is freshly painting.  Painting a room is a fairly inexpensive way to make a room feel clean and fresh.  This is one of the biggest recommendations that Realtors will give to home owners prior to listing their home for sale.

When looking at homes, a room with only one wall or small portion of the ceiling that has been freshly painted should be a red flag.  Why would a seller only paint a small part of the ceiling?  Or only one wall?  It’s possible the seller is trying to cover up a problem, which should be a cause for concern.

#4: Amateur Workmanship & Repairs

Amateur workmanship is one red flag that buyers need to be on the lookout for when viewing properties.  It’s an important consideration to make when buying a flipped property.  It’s common that flipped properties are completed by “flippers” who don’t have the qualifications to complete the projects properly, so it’s important to pay closer attention to amateur workmanship when viewing a flipped property.

Some of the most common amateur workmanship jobs to keep an eye out for when looking at homes include plumbing, carpentry, and electrical work.  When looking at homes it is a good idea to keep an eye out for leaky faucets, toilets, missing trim work, and other potential DIY projects.

#5: Odors

It’s not uncommon that a homeowner becomes immune to a foul odor.  Foul odors are one of the easiest ways that a seller can kill a home sale.  When looking at homes, pleasant odors and foul odors can both be red flags.

It’s obvious that a foul odor is something that can scare away a potential buyer in less than a minute, but, why is a pleasant odor a possible red flag?  If a home has a plug in air freshener in every outlet, a candle lit in every room, and air fresheners hanging in every room, it’s possible the homeowner is attempting to cover up a foul odor.  While this isn’t always the case, it’s always something that buyers need to be aware of when looking at homes.

If there are windows opened in the middle of the winter when looking at a home, it again should raise a red flag.  When looking at homes, if either of these scenarios were to arise, it’s important to find out more and ask the homeowner, or have your Realtor find out more.

#6: Poor Overall Neighborhood Condition

It’s important for buyers to remember that when they are purchasing a home, they are not only purchasing the specific lot it sits on and the property itself.  When buying a home, they are also purchasing the neighborhood.  A red flag that buyers need to look for when purchasing a home is a neighborhood that has an overall poor condition.

Buyers should look for things such as boarded up properties and a high number of vacant properties in the neighborhood.  Choosing the right neighborhood to purchase a home in is not always easy, however, it is extremely important.  Buying a home in a neighborhood that is decreasing or that has crime problems can be a costly mistake.

Most buyers don’t think about how the neighborhood will impact the resale value of the home, since they don’t own the property yet.  Buying a home in a neighborhood that is decreasing can create problems in the future, not necessarily in the immediate future.

#7: Stains On Walls and/or Ceilings

If a seller has not attempted to cover up stains on a wall or ceiling with paint, this should still be viewed as a red flag when buying a home.

Are the stains a result from a leak in the roof?  Are the stains a result from ice damming?  Are the stains a result of a plumbing issue?

If there are stains on a wall or ceiling in the home, it’s important to find out what has caused these stains.  It’s possible the stains are from a prior problem that has been corrected.  Not investigating a stain on a wall or ceiling can cost a buyer thousands of dollars in repairs in the future.

#8: Electrical System Issues

Depending on the age of a home, it’s possible there are issues with the electrical systems.  Inadequate or electrical issues need to be viewed as a red flag for a buyer.  Many older homes still have older electrical panels with fuses and even some homes still have knob and tube wiring, which can cause significant problems.

It’s understood most home buyers are not professional electricians, however, simple things such as turning on light switches, checking for flickering lights, and checking outlets are all good ways to tell if the electrical seems to be working properly.  Most home inspectors will inspect the electrical panel and test the outlets to ensure the electrical systems are not a safety concern.

#9: Poor Drainage/Grading

Water in a home is something that almost every home buyer will be terrified of.  Most water problems in a home are directly related to poor drainage or grading.

Poor drainage is something that isn’t always easily detected.  An obvious sign of poor drainage is pooling water.  If the yard of a home has mini lakes, it likely has poor drainage, which can lead to water problems inside the home.  Other signs of poor drainage can include overflowing gutters, migrating mulch in the flower beds, water stains on basement walls, and cracking in the foundation.

Proper grading can make a huge difference when it comes to water problems.  It’s common sense that a negative grade resulting in standing water on the foundation can create water problems.  It’s important that the overall grading is sloping away from the home’s foundation and that water is being run-off away from the home’s foundation.  A relatively easy and inexpensive way to keep water away from a home’s foundation is by installing gutter downspout extensions.

#10: Mold

Similar to water problems, mold problems should raise red flags when buying a home.  Mold can lead to major health problems, especially for young children.  Mold problems are not always easily discovered, however, if a home you look at has mold problems, you need to consider whether the home is the right fit or not.  There are many considerations that need to be taken into account to help determine whether buying a home with mold is the correct decision or not.

Mold remediation can be completed on a home, however, it can be costly.  Like many of these red flags, most home inspectors can help discover mold problems in a home.  The most common areas for mold in a home are basements and attics.  There are companies that can perform mold tests to determine whether for certain a home has mold or not.

Final Thoughts

I know how hard it is to walk away from a home. In the end, however, numerous clients have told me it was worth the wait. If you’re looking for an agent who will be so honest as to discourage you from buying if it’s not right, I’d love to connect. Give me an email or call anytime.

Why Has Everything Gone Grey?

Why have decorators seized on the drabbest color in the palette?

Perhaps it’s an ominous sign of society’s mood, we may be subconsciously withdrawing and using grey as a means of protection to feel safe and secure. Or maybe we just love the minimalistic simplicity of an all grey environment?

Whatever the reason, the drabbest color in the wheel is making a giant stir on social media, people have very strong opinions about the usage – or over usage of a color that is a combination of two outcasts of the spectrum. There seems to be limitless variations of grey, from slate, to steel to blue, and all three can be present the same room, creating a monotonous space just begging for a splash of color.

In color psychology, grey represents neutrality and balance. Its color meaning likely comes from being the shade between white and black. However, grey does carry some negative connotations, particularly when it comes to depression and loss. Its absence of color makes it dull and dreary.

When it comes to selling your home, grey is a great neutral paint option, it is easy to decorate around, and it will be sure to show off the more colorful aspects of your home.

Where are you on the grey scale?

Moving With Your Pet

  • Make sure your pet has a well fitting collar with your current mobile phone number on it.  Microchipping is also an excellent idea.
  • Does your pet get car sick?  Visit the vet for medication well in advance of any travel to help and discuss feeding  ideas. 
  • For long distance moves where you will be spending the night in hotels identify “pet friendly” hotels in advance.  Here are some links to help you find them: www.petswelcome.com or www.pet-friendly-hotels.net.
  • On the day of moving make sure your pet is secured in a crate (preferably) or a room with the door closed well in advance of the start of the move.  The noise and commotion is very upsetting and will cause your pet to become nervous. The last thing you want is for your beloved pet to dart out the door and run away!
  • Always transport small dogs, and cats in a well-ventilated pet carrier.  Always keep larger dogs on a leash.  Make sure that your animals have access to water frequently, and never leave them locked up in cars with all the windows rolled up tightly.  Do not place carrier on top of cars, or in trunks.  Do not allow dogs to ride on flat bed truck or in truck beds without being secured.  Dogs should have a safety harness when traveling just like a person attached to a seat belt to prevent them from being hurt in an accident or accidently getting loose when you open the door. 
  • For long distance moves in the car make sure they get plenty of potty breaks. 
  • Once at the new home, walk them around the house and the yard.  Place some of their favorite items somewhere in a safe room.  Make sure they are secure for the unpacking, just like you did for the packing.  Be aware of their presence around open doors for sometime until they get used to their new environment.  
  • Finally give them lots of love, attention, and walks around their new neighborhood if that applys.

8 Surprising Household Hints

8 Surprising Household Hints
By Barbara Pronin

Home store shelves are full of goop and gadgets for cleaning or fixing just about anything. But, says Julie Edelman, better known to readers and viewers as The Accidental Housewife, you can save a lot of money by cleaning and fixing things with the goop and gadgets you already have at home.

Edelman offers specific tips in a recent issue of Bottom Line Personal:

Polish glass and faucets with newspaper – Newsprint ink is a wonderful polishing agent, so crumple a piece of newspaper and rub.
Shine shoes and plants with banana peels – The inner peel contains oil and potassium, two of the key ingredients in shoe polish. Wipe shoes or plant leaves with the inside of the peel, then buff with a soft, clean cloth.
Clean the dishwasher with Kool-Aid – Fill the dispenser with lemonade Kool-Aid or any powdered drink mix that contains citric acid. Run the dishwasher through a full normal cycle to wash away gunk, lime or rust stains, and odors.
Quiet a squeaky door with cucumber – Rub a slice of cucumber all around the hinge. Wipe away any residue and enjoy the quiet.
Mend minor cracks in china with milk – Milk contains casein, a protein that, when heated, turns into natural, plastic-like glue. Place the cracked plate in a pot large enough to cover it with milk. Bring the milk to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 45-60 minutes. Let the milk cool. Rinse the plate. The crack should be sealed.
Repel ants and roaches with citrus rinds – Bugs hate the oil that is found naturally in citrus rinds. Place pieces of orange or lemon rind in door or window openings or wherever bugs are prone to enter. Replace every few days.
Clean a toilet bowl with Alka Seltzer – Drop two of the tablets, or a couple of Polident effervescent tablets, into the bowl. Let them fizz and remain for 15-20 minutes. Clean with a toilet brush and flush.
Fix a small wood scratch with walnuts – Gently rub the walnut meat, with a circular motion, into small scratches on your dark wood furniture. Let the natural oil seep in for up to10 minutes, then buff with a clean cloth.

Judy Gratton Your Real Estate Edge

Simple Ideas in Preparing Your Home to Sell

Tanya Howard the Founder and Interior Designer/ Stager with “The Final Piece” gives us some simple ideas to clean up, brighten up, and bring your home up in $$$ when selling.

Tanya Howard shares simple ideas

I have worked with Tanya Howard on many listings and I am always delighted, as are my clients with the results. She is available too to give sellers a “to do” list to prepare for listing with a thorough walk-through.

If you would like to contact Tanya for more information you can reach out to her on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/The-Final-Piece-257951174360341

15 minute Home Buyers Seminar!

Don’t know where to start? Let Robert Garrod with Homeseed Loans answer your questions!

It’s simple, but not necessarily easy. Robert gives you some great tips to get started.

If you really want to get started contact Robert here:


Then contact us, we can help you find the home when you are ready!

Meet Carmin Dalziel Executive Director with The Northshore Schools Foundation

Just exactly what is the Northshore Schools Foundation? It is a wonderful foundation that raises money to help Northshore school district children and teachers in areas where our tax dollars can’t. Carmin Dalziel is the Executive Director of the foundation and shared some of the work this foundation does for the students and families of the Northshore School District.

Of course like all foundations, Northshore Schools Foundation can always use more donations. So, we are excited to announce that we will be attaching a “Go Fund Me” jar to this article and page to benefit the Northshore Schools Foundation’s “Removing Barriers” program. Here below is also a link to other ways to contribute: https://www.northshoreschoolsfoundation.org/

As I told Carmin, I firmly believe that even if your own child doesn’t need help, all children benefit when one child is helped in a classroom or school. It raises everyone up. Please take a moment to listen to Carmin’s interview and see the great work done by the Northshore Schools Foundation, and how you can get involved.

Please click on our jar and leave a donation to help us reach our goal of “Removing Barriers” for our Northshore students.

Removing Barriers for Northshore Families Virtual Collection Jar – by Judy and Jim Gratton

It all adds up. Join me in collecting donations to help Northshore students in crisis. Removing Barriers collection jars (formerly known as MILK Money jars) can be found at businesses across Kenmore, Woodinville, Bothell, and now online. Proceeds fund programs for students experiencing economic challenges that cannot be funded by public dollars. These include the Opportunity Fund, Basic Needs Aid, Homelessness Services, School Supply Kits, and Student Meals. Please help me reach my goal of $100 by contributing $5 or more to my virtual collection jar. We hope to raise $40,000 or more through this annual grassroots collection, now in its 11th year. We’ll tally up the results after December 18th.

A Home Inspector Shares The Simple Yet Important Things You Can Do To Keep Your Home In Good Shape

Mike Wright with Wright Way Home Inspection is a home inspector that I have personally had a working relationship with for years. He has so much knowledge on what is necessary to maintain and protect your most valuable asset your home.

He will give you ideas that will protect your home now and also protect you from any big surprises when you do decide to sell your home.

You can also stop by his website: https://wrightwayhomeinspection.com for more tips and information on home maintenance.