A home is one of the biggest investments you will make in your lifetime and it’s no wonder you may feel anxious about ensuring that you’re making the best choice with your funds. Unfortunately, sneaky sellers may not have your best interests in mind. Watch out for these sneaky tricks home sellers use to pass inspections.
Paint Over It
Perhaps the most common and the most obvious trick in the book is painting over a problem spot. This is a sneaky seller go-to because it’s so easy. Mold or water stains can be temporarily hidden by a fresh coat of paint. While it’s common for sellers to want to brighten up the space, asking for before-and-after photos or having your inspector take a closer look can save you some costly problems down the road.
Similar to a fresh coat of paint, strategically placed decor can be a tool in a sneaky seller’s arsenal. If a painting or piece of furniture comes with the house, there’s a chance the seller simply has no use for it, but there’s also the chance that its current placement hides a problem area you’ll want to know about.
Sellers can be held responsible for hiding information and there is certain information they are legally required to disclose. To evade this, some sellers deliberately choose to remain ignorant to issues like lead paint or asbestos. If this is a concern—particularly if you have young children and are searching for a new home—you may want to ask to have tests conducted during the buying process if the home was built before the 1980s.
If you are buying a home from a flipper, landlord or rehabber, they may remain blissfully ignorant of the age of key assets within the home. “I haven’t lived here long” is usually code to mean they didn’t address that item when doing the updates. The roof, HVAC and the age of appliances can all be assessed by a home inspector to determine how much life they have left.
Home sellers can be sneaky at times. Thankfully a licensed home inspector and an experienced realtor at your side can make all the difference. However, it never hurts to be savvy yourself and look out for any warning signs that a sneaky seller may be trying to pass an inspection without addressing the real problem.