This post will briefly mention 7 red flags that buyers should watch out for when buying their next home in San Carlos. For a more detailed description of these 7 red flags, please click on the podcast located in the post below this one.
The Seven Red Flags
(1) A Clueless Listing Agent. If you have a listing agent that cannot answer basic questions about the house or go into some details on disclosure items, be extra cautious. Any listing agent that would take a property to market without knowing the basic information about the property should not be selling real estate. Nonetheless, it happens frequently. The fact that the agent cannot answer basic questions about the property should leave any reasonable buyer feeling uneasy about entering into a transaction where that particular agent is representing the opposing party.
How to get around this red flag: Make sure you have a dynamite buyer’s agent who is aggressive and is not afraid to take charge of the situation and give your particular transaction extra attention, knowing the listing agent will not do his or her job appropriately.
(2) Disclosures. The State of California requires certain disclosure documentation be filled out by the sellers and handed over to the buyer prior to the transaction closing. An immediate red flag should be raised if you view disclosures which are “bare bones” or incomplete. One of two things is going on in this situation (1) the sellers are not being forthcoming on purpose; or (2) the sellers did not take the disclosure documentation seriously….consequently, you do not have full disclosure.
How to get around this red flag: You need to have a very thorough and aggressive buyer’s agent who demands further and complete answers to all questions listed on the disclosure documentation. If your agent is unable to extract more complete answers from the sellers, your agent needs to go to the head of the listing agent’s brokerage and demand that the California disclosure requirements be satisfied. If your buyer’s agent is still unable to get comprehensive answers, it may be time to walk.
(3) City and County Records. Many buyers in San Carlos believe they are buying a home with particular number of bedrooms and bathrooms, only to find out after the transaction has closed, that one or more of their bedrooms and bathrooms was not permitted. With this knowledge, those buyers will not be able to sell their home without disclosing this fact to future prospective buyers….obviously, this mistake has just lessened the value of their home. Many listing agents do not check city and county records as to the permitted rooms in a house. San Carlos is famous for having many homes with umpermitted work. The result is a nightmare for some buyers.
How to get around this red flag: This one is easy. Check the county and city records prior to removing your contingency. Do not trust that the listing agent has the correct information on the MLS.
(4) Home on the Market for 60 Days or More. Currently, any home in San Carlos that has been on the market for more than 60 days is overpriced. However, many sellers who fit into this category are reluctant to reduce their list price. If you truly fall in love with a home that has been on the market for 60 days, or longer, and the seller will not move from his or her list price, I would be tempted to walk. We still have tremendous “demand” here in San Carlos. Homes that are priced correctly are selling immediately. Unless you are in a situation where you believe that you will be in the home for 10 years or longer, I would not negotiate a purchase with a seller who is out of touch with the market.
How to get around this red flag: (1) Have a very creative and persuasive buyer’s agen; or (2) WALK AWAY.
5. Neglected Home. If you enter into a contract which provides for a contingency period, have the home inspected by a professional property inspector. A good property inspector will be able to give you the heads up on the overall condition of the house, including issues of neglect which could end up costing you a small fortune. Remember, most home is San Carlos are at least 60 years old. Many are getting to the point where they will need substantial renovations. A house that has been neglected could end of being a money pit.
How to get around this red flag: Hire a well respected and thorough property inspector. If the inspector returns detailing signs of neglect you should determine the extent of the neglect with the inspector. If conditions warrant, be prepared to walk or have your agent negotiate a reduction or credit from the seller.
6. Property Characteristics. In San Carlos you should be paying special attention to homes that are (1) on a hillside; and (2) border a creek. Hillside homes should have adequate retaining walls and protection against drainage from neighboring properties. Creekside homes should have some type of erosion protection built into the part of the property touching the creek. If either of this characteristics are present in a home you are considering purchasing, beware that retaining walls and stopping erosion are MAJOR expenses and should immediately put up a red flag.
How to get around this red flag: Hire an engineer to inspect the retaining wall or erosion control during your contingency period. If below average circumstances exist have your agent re-negotiate with the seller or walk away from the purchase.
7. Neighbors. Barking dogs, the rock band next door, neighbors not taking care of their yard are all red flags for your resale. Often times buyers are so focused on their prospective homes, that they forget the neighbors and other conditions in the neighborhood which could have an effect on resale.
How to get around this red flag: Walk the neighborhood on a weekend. Talk to neighbors. You would be surprised at how willing people are to talk about their street.