When shopping for homes in Washington DC, Bethesda, Chevy Chase, or the surrounding areas, there are dozens of features to look over and factors to consider. For instance, how many bedrooms does the property have? What does the yard look like? How close is the home to your workplace? What are the school districts like? All of these questions, while important, can cause your mind to fog over and you to forget to inspect some of the following real estate red flags.
Sure, the home inspection is in place to help you identify problems with a potential property in the DC Metro, but why wait until then to start looking? Below are five home problems you can spot before you move forward with the homebuying process.
As you tour a Metro DC home, take note of the insulation in the attic (if the property has one). Is the foil side of the insulation facing up below your feet? If so, it may have been ruined by moisture coming up. The foil side of insulation—or the vapor barrier—should be facing the main rooms of the home, not the attic. On the flip side, if the foil side is facing you on the ceiling, that is nothing to worry about.
Varying pipe styles
In the basement, you may notice pipes running in and out of the property. You can also find these elsewhere in the home, like under the sink or in the kitchen. If you happen to find multiple styles of piping, it doesn’t always mean an issue is present, but likely the past owners replaced sections piece by piece. This is one area to ask your inspector about if varying styles are indeed present.
You’ve probably been advised to flush toilets and run all faucets when touring homes in Washington DC, Maryland, and beyond— and for good reason. Slow drainage can signal a larger issue with the plumbing of the home, either with clogged drains, poor installation or worse, a sewer line problem.
When outside, you should notice one vent pipe that lines up with the kitchen and one for each bathroom. Any fewer vents to the outdoors could mean an area isn’t vented correctly and a larger expense down the road. You’ll also want to make sure the vent does not end in the attic which can mean moisture build-up issues.
Bubbling walls or ceilings
Does it look like the paint is bubbling or the ceiling seems to sag in one spot? Beware! While it could simply mean the paint is old and chipping away, it could also point to water damage. On the ceiling, it may be from damaged roof tiles which could be a significant cost to a new homeowner. Consult your inspector if you identify these red flags.