Having a good and experienced Phoenix Realtor can help you spot some potential problems when looking at houses is helpful.
Disclosure: We are not licensed contractors, we are not home inspectors and it is ALWAYS recommended for you to get a professional home inspection done on any property, even a new build.
So how can a good buyers agent help? Some agents do not attend their home inspections as they say it is not the best use of their time. I do. I have probably attended somewhere around 150-200 home inspections over the last seven years. So while I am not a home inspector, I have talked to a home inspector about issues enough that I can usually spot many of the main ones.
Phoenix Home Shopping, What To Look For
We have this infographic to help show you some of the things you might want to look out for.
- Potential for foundation problems. Settling is very common in Arizona. I would say roughly half of the houses I sell have some sort of evidence of settling. It could be cracks in floors, ceilings, walls. What my home inspector has taught me is there is a big difference between a crack along a sheet rock joint and a diagonal crack along a wall. Or a crack along tile vs a visible rise in one side of a crack vs the other side of the crack.
- Insect problems. As I like to tell my clients, there are two types of houses in the Phoenix area, there are those that have termites and those that will have termites. Termites are as common in Arizona as a Haboob in the summer. Don’t worry, I have only seen one infestation issue where the termite inspector said it was so bad they wouldn’t buy the home. Termites are easily treated in Phoenix.
- Random mismatched paint. When we see one area of the wall that has been repainted we often ask why. Was there a repair they were trying to cover up or just a hole in the wall from kids playing ball in the house? (Yes, my son has done this…. recently).
- Amateur workmanship and repairs. I do a lot of my own repairs around the house. 90% of them are done well, and you couldn’t tell that the home owner did them. Then there are the other 10%. I know if we ever sell the house they will probably need to be redone. On a house that has updated floors or an updated kitchen, it is usually pretty easy to tell the quality of the workmanship by just looking at the small details.
- Odors: Good and bad. Now this one can be tricky. When we list a house, often one thing we do is get it professionally cleaned right before it hits the market. There is a difference between walking into a house and it smelling clean, and walking into a house and being overwhelmed by PlugIns. When that is the situation? You have to look a little closer to see if there is something they are trying to mask.
- Condition of the neighborhood. If the neighborhood is a little run down, that doesn’t always mean to stay away. It just means you need to do a little more research. I know of one older neighborhood in Chandler where there are some rundown homes. But if you did a little more research, you would find that over the past three years a large number of the houses have been remodeled inside and out and the neighborhood is on its way back up.
- Stains on walls and ceilings. Water, smoke, sun, what caused the stain. Also in this category is look for stains around the AC ducts. When there is a lot of black around the AC ducts, this could often mean the AC unit and duct work was not taken care of and may need further inspection.
- Electrical system issues. We recently walked into a house that had a remodeled kitchen. I hit a light switch on one side of the room and about half a second later my client hit the switch on the other side of the room. My switch turned the light on and his turned it off. That was fine, but then after he hit the switch I went to flick them back on and my switch would not work. My side only worked again after he set his back in the other direction. Obviously a wiring issue. Always make sure with your inspection that electrical systems are working as they are designed.
- Poor grading around the house. This is very common in inspection reports. And this is very important in Phoenix where we typically have slabs and not basements. You want to make sure that the water drains away from your house and not towards it.
- Mold. Or as an inspector will call it out as “black organic substance.” When you see this you most likely want to get it checked. How common is mold? Not very in my experience. In my seven years I have seen two houses where it was really an issue. And both of them it was treated and the Buyers ended up closing on the house. But it is something you want to get checked out if it is spotted.