4 red flags to consider before buying a home – NBC4 Washington

The competitive housing market is making it difficult for potential home buyers, with some even foregoing home inspections in hopes of gaining an advantage over other buyers.

According to the National Association of Realtors, 20% of buyers across the country waived home inspections in January.

“The market is crazy,” said real estate agent Yolanda Muckle.

But skipping an inspection can be a costly mistake, leading to unexpected costs later.

“Unless you get a professional to go through the house as a real estate agent, as a potential buyer, everything could be nice and nice and fixed. But we really don’t know,” Muckle said. .

Getting a home inspection is important, and with just a few simple clicks, information about home repairs, building permits, and skeletons in the closet can be found online.

Ernest Chrappah is the director of DC’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, or DCRA, which offers free online tools to help potential buyers.

Before gambling with the biggest investment of your life, Chrappah encourages people to dig a little deeper.

Here are four red flags to watch out for:

Renovations without a permit

“If I go to the property and see it has been renovated, but there is no permit in an inspection history, that is a red flag telling me there is had an illegal construction,” he said.

Vacant Designated Home

Another red flag is when a home has been designated vacant or has vacant tax exemptions.

“If you don’t change this classification, once the property becomes yours, you will be liable for higher property taxes,” Chrappah said.

Historic districts

Is the property in a historic area? Home improvements in these areas are often more expensive and time-consuming.

“We have historic neighborhoods like Georgetown and that means if you’re planning on doing renovations, your permit time is likely to be longer than the average person’s, so you need to plan ahead,” Chrappah advises.

Former contractors

Finally, if the house was renovated, who did the work and are they trustworthy?

“We have a contractor rating system, a five-star rating system, which objectively rates whether it’s a contractor who’s missed or failed a lot of inspections, or whether they’ve submitted plans that weren’t compliant,” Chrappah said.

Similar online tools are also available in Maryland and Virginia. The Gist: Chrappah tells buyers to do their homework, making sure they’re armed with information before they fall in love and submit an offer.

“The District is a beautiful place to live, work, and play. There’s a reason the market is hot in the District of Columbia. But you, as a buyer, have tools at your disposal that won’t cost you nothing so they can make the most informed decision,” he said.

For more information on finding a property and to view DC’s Contractor Rating System, visit the DCRA website.

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