With home prices still rising slightly, relatively low inventory, and a lot of cash offers, the residential real estate market is pretty tough for buyers right now. So the one thing you don’t want to do when buying real estate in Los Angeles is rush in and wind up with a costly lemon.
Many properties may look good at first glance, but looks can often be mighty deceiving. And then, on the other hand, some glaring flaws really aren’t that big a deal. So what should you be on the lookout for when considering a potential purchase? To find out, consider these 6 things that should make you run the other way when buying real estate in Los Angeles.
1. Roof Problems
A quality, well maintained roof can last a long time, sometimes more than 30 years. But that quality roof didn’t come cheap, costing maybe in excess of $10,000 all the way up to $30,000. So you must take a careful look at the roof before buying real estate in Los Angeles.
Real estate pros suggest that you “ask the seller how old the roof is and inspect the gutters to make sure the drainage systems are in good working order. You also want to be on the lookout for dry rot – often caused by poor ventilation – which can cause sagging and crumbling. You may be able to see from the ground whether there are cracked or missing shingles. But it pays to get a roofer to do an inspection, either before you make the offer or during the contract phase of the negotiations.”
2. Major Plumbing Problems
Major plumbing issues should also make you run the other way when buying real estate in Los Angeles. These too can entail some very costly repairs, as much as $25,000 to $50,000 for sewer lines and septic tanks. But the problem is that most of the plumbing, unlike the roof, is out of sight and usually not easily accessible.
You should definitely keep an eye out for visible evidence of problems – things such as water stains, sagging floors, and mildew. Also, make sure all drains drain well and toilets flush healthily, as well as ensuring all faucets have adequate water pressure. Beyond that for the bigger and more costly things, you should have your plumber check everything out.
3. Electrical Issues
Electrical issues can be nearly as costly as plumbing problems, and they can pose far greater danger. “It’s not out of the ordinary,” according to experts, “to encounter outdated or inferior electrical work in older homes – which can cause big problems. If the electrical system hasn’t been updated in a few decades, it could be a fire hazard.”
And replacing outdated, unsafe wiring isn’t cheap. Re-wiring an entire house can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $20,000. So if you detect any major electrical issues when buying real estate in Los Angeles, run the other way . . . fast.
4. Flood-Zone Location
Location is always important in buying real estate in Los Angeles, but certain aspects of location are for more important than others. One of those highly important location considerations is whether the property is located in a flood zone, which may not always be readily apparent.
Industry experts recommend a careful look at flood-zone maps. “Just because your dream house isn’t next to a beach or river doesn’t mean that it isn’t at risk of flooding. With climate change and the increasing unpredictability of rain, flood zones have become increasingly important. Buying a home in a high-risk flood zone can mean a dramatic increase in insurance costs, as well as more difficulty selling the home in the future.” Depending on the particular flood zone and damage potential, insurance premiums can be hundreds or thousands of dollars higher annually.
5. Extreme Pricing
Another thing that should make you run the other way when buying real estate in Los Angeles is extreme pricing. It should be a red flag when the property is priced either too high or too low, but especially when the price seems to be well below market value.
That low price could very well signal major structural repair issues, such as a roof needing to be replaced or a cracked and sinking foundation. “Or there could be zoning challenges or large past-due property tax bills and association dues that the seller is expecting you to take on.” And these are all good reasons to run the other way.
6. Sketchy Seller and/or Agent Behavior
Finally, you should beware of sketchy behavior on the part of the seller and/or her agent. Here are some of the things to look out for:
- Missing paperwork
- High-pressure sales tactics
- Incentives to waive the inspection
- Missing additions/renovations in the 3R Report
- Title oddities or omissions
- Any other off-putting behavior
Any of these could indicate an attempt to hide something.
A Local Agent for Decreased Risk
Yes, these 6 things that should make you run the other way when buying real estate in Los Angeles. The difficulty, though, lies in knowing for sure whether you’ve really come across one (or more) of them. The price, for example, may be extremely low simply because the seller is desperate to make a fast sale. This is an area where your local real estate agent can be an immense help. Find out how our agents can help you make the right real estate purchasing decision. Contact us today! 562-881-9811