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Jumping into a bad real estate deal

Shopping for a new home can be exciting and daunting. You may have a list of items and amenities you must have as well as areas of Wisconsin where you want to live. Each new item on your list may raise the potential cost of the home. However, if you are willing to put in the time and effort, it is possible to find an exceptional deal on a residential property.

The trick is to find the balance between a solid home with a fair price and a property that seems too good to be true. It is easy to let your emotions lead the way when searching for the perfect home, but keeping some tips in mind may help you avoid ending up with a money pit.

Asking too much

Rushing into the purchase of a home that is well within your price range may not always be wise. Of course, you do not want to let a good deal slip through your hands, but a property with a price exceedingly below market value may have problems that could break your bank in the future.

Owners who know their homes have structural damage, foundational issues or other problems may drop the price to unload the property on an eager buyer. You may end up with a house that has a zoning challenge, utility easement or past due taxes for which you become responsible when you take on the title.

Other red flags

Careful research on any property you are considering may reveal hidden issues such as a cloudy title, critical renovations without permits or undisclosed problems in the home or neighborhood. Some signs that may indicate trouble include the following:

  • The paperwork from the seller or agent seems incomplete or inaccurate.
  • The seller is pressuring you to make a fast decision.
  • The seller offers an incentive or otherwise discourages you from having an inspection.
  • You discover gaps between sellers or other inconsistencies in the title.
  • The list price is too high.
  • The house has been on the market or unoccupied for a long time.
  • The house has had an excessive number of owners.

You may also notice the seller has made cosmetic fixes such as fresh paint that may cover water leaks or mold or added new shrubbery that hides foundational issues. It is never a good idea to accept the seller's word or inspector but wise to hire your own inspector to carefully evaluate the property. You may also benefit from having an attorney carefully review the paperwork and documentation for the property. Having a legal advocate may help you avoid costly mistakes.

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