Choosing a home is one of the biggest financial decisions most people make in their lives. To help ensure that your home’s value will stand the test of time, watch for these four factors that may decrease property value.


Foundation damage

Bulges, cracks, gaps, or sags in the foundation may affect the framing, plumbing, drywall, and flooring of the whole house. If a potential home has foundation problems, it’s a good idea to have it carefully inspected and get an estimate of what the repairs will cost before you buy.

Faulty wiring

If the home you’re buying has aluminum wiring, it may likely need to be replaced. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, homes wired with aluminum wiring before 1972 are 55 times more likely to have fire hazard conditions than houses wired with copper. Warning signs of faulty wiring include flickering lights, circuits that don't work, and warm or hot outlets or faceplates. Before buying an older home, have your inspector check the age and type of wiring currently in place.

Cheap fixes

Whether it’s duct tape around a leaky showerhead, multiple layers of roofing, or plywood cabinets, cheap fixes affect the perception of a home’s value. It can also suggest that corners were cut in the upkeep of the home in less obvious ways. So keep an eye out for warning signs and ask your inspector to dig deeper if something seems unusual.

Bad smells

Some odors, such as cigarette smoke or pet smells, might be managed with a little cleaning, along with new paint and carpeting. But a strong scent of sewage, gas, or mold can sometimes signify serious and expensive problems. It can be costly to repair sewage systems that have been clogged or damaged by tree roots. Removing mold and addressing the source of moisture can also cost thousands of dollars. If you notice a strong smell in the house, ask your inspector to identify the source.

By staying alert and looking out for signs of potential problems, you can prepare yourself to purchase a home that you’ll be happy with for years to come.

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