Red Flags to Avoid When Selling Your Home

Be aware of these warning signs that might turn potential buyers away

a home staged and ready to sell
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Charlotte Couch


Jan 21, 2021

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Do you want to sell your home quickly and efficiently? If so, check out this article before putting your house on the market. Included is a list of red flags to potential buyers that may turn them away and prevent you from selling your home in a timely manner.

When preparing your home for the market, remember to address any issues that may concern potential buyers and send them running away. If you sit on these problems for too long, this may prevent you from selling your house, or cause you to lose a substantial amount of money should a sale occur. Most home buyers today desire “turn key” homes that don’t require them to put in additional money and maintenance. Make your house more desirable and marketable by addressing these warning signs before prospective buyers beat you to the punch.

To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of issues to look out for:

  • Electrical issues
  • Signs of water intrusion
  • Struggling neighborhood
  • Unsafe radon levels
  • Second-rate repairs

Address electrical issues

Electronics are becoming more essential than ever to buyers


Since we as a society are becoming more and more dependent on electronics, buyers want to make sure the electrical system in their potential home is reliable enough to keep up with modern demands. An outdated electrical standard, such as knob and tube wiring, can turn away buyers as it can be difficult to obtain insurance or even a loan for this type of wiring. According to inspector Reggie Marston, he often finds “ungrounded fixtures, spliced wires not terminated in a proper electric box, receptacles wired backwards, and improper breakers in the electric service panel,” in houses. Improper electrical wiring can not only be unreliable but also deadly as it could lead to a fire. So, make sure you fix any electrical issues immediately.

Water penetration

Any signs of water intrusion is a huge red flag to buyers

Indications of water penetration include sagging floors or walls, noticeable dampness in the air, and dark stains throughout the house. These are usually signs of larger problems in the home. Signs of water damage may indicate the presence of mold to a buyer. Mold infestations are not only difficult and expensive to get rid of, they can also lead to health problems in children and the elderly. Buyers will either use this as a bargaining chip when attempting to purchase the home or will simply look elsewhere if the mold problem appears to be too big of a hassle to address.    

Prevalence of people leaving the neighborhood

Buyers will also look at the surrounding neighborhood of a home when deciding whether to purchase it

house for sale

If your neighborhood is struggling, buyers will see that and take note of it. After all, if a large number of people are leaving the neighborhood, why would they want to enter it? Prospective buyers will definitely want to know the reason behind this need for current residents to leave their neighborhood. Reasons for a large-scale exodus from neighborhoods include crime, environmental issues, or low-rates of employment. However, if this mass exodus is simply a coincidence or relocation is common in this neighborhood make sure the prospective buyer knows this. Otherwise, they will most likely assume the worst.

Radon Issues

High radon levels can turn into a health concern for homeowners

Radon is a radioactive gas that breaks down into small radioactive elements that are then able to lodge themselves inside the lining of your lungs. Being exposed to radon for a long period of time puts you at risk for lung cancer. If radon levels in your home are at unsafe levels, you can eliminate or lower them with the help of a professional. However, fixing radon issues takes a large amount of foresight, as they should be fixed long before you put your house up for sale. Some sellers don’t realize that they have unsafe radon levels in their home until a buyer has an inspection performed for themselves.

Shoddy Workmanship

Buyers will be turned off at the prospect of having to redo second-rate repairs

According to home inspector Reggie Marston, “With plumbing, the owners will install the toilet but don’t tighten it securely to the floor. I’ll find a toilet’s so loose that I counsel my client it should have a seat belt installed so nobody falls off!” These mistakes often happen when homeowners think they are capable of doing major work around their house without using a contractor. While some homeowners who engage in DIY home repair complete work that is up to code, many others end up with mediocre and second-rate results. If you do decide to perform home improvement work by yourself, have a professional double-check your work.

If you have more questions, do not hesitate to contact your agent. They are here to help you!

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April 3, 2018
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