When you find a house on the market that appears to be everything you are looking for, you should make sure the property actually matches your impression of it. Many sellers want their homes to look as good as possible, but sometimes they are also masking defects that would cause you to think twice about buying the residence.
As you tour a home, be vigilant for indications that the property could have hidden problems. The Motley Fool describes a few things worth checking out in the house and on the outside.
Walls with stacked boxes
At first glance, a room may look neat because the owner has moved boxes and furniture up against the walls so they do not clutter the floor. However, stacked boxes can obscure a noticeable wall defect like a crack or rot. You might also notice boxes placed near a hot water heater or a furnace. The seller might have put them there to block old inspection stickers that indicate a lack of recent maintenance.
A new roof
Given that Florida is at risk for hurricane landfalls, a home with a recently installed roof is not unusual since the house may have suffered wind damage. However, some sellers put in a new roof to hide mold, rot or termite damage in the attic or the ceiling. An inspection should confirm that the new roof exists for a good reason.
New paint or sealant
The current owner may have added a new paint job to the home. New paint may increase the value of the residence, but sometimes a seller adds a paint coat to obscure mold or rot. The same can be true for roof sealant. You may notice it around vents or a chimney. Sealant can close off gaps that leak water and air, but it could also hide serious defects.
Remember your right to disclosure
You should not have to personally examine a home for every possible defect. Under a number of Florida laws, the seller must disclose known home defects to you before you agree to a purchase. If a seller fails to disclose relevant information to you about the property, you could legally back out of the purchase or possibly litigate the seller for damages.