Red Flags potential buyers will notice

flickering lights

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When you’re buying a home it’s hard to notice everything during your walk-through, after all, it’s why you pay for an inspection. Often, it’s the little things that can add up to big costs after you sign the closing papers – and buyers will be looking for those little red flags.  

Homebuyers want to know that a home is well-maintained, but that doesn’t mean just the big-ticket items like the roof, heating system, windows, etc. Leaky faucets, loose cabinet hardware, or broken doorknobs can lead the buyer to think that the seller didn’t take care of the home and wonder what big issues are lurking behind the walls or under the floor.

As a seller, you’re responsible for disclosing any issues with the home, and if something needs attention, a quick fix isn’t going to fool most buyers. In fact, it could raise more of an alarm than just disclosing the issue in the first place.

Here’s how to tackle eight common repairs properly so your buyers don’t feel deceived.

  1. A stained ceiling from a potential leak. Both inspectors and new homeowners will pick up on fresh paint on only one room’s ceiling. Instead of trying to hide a water stain that will eventually reappear, make sure you repair an active leak first. Many home inspectors offer moisture testing as an added service and moisture that’s present in a ceiling will most likely show up when tested.
  2. A constantly running toilet or dripping sink. Don’t shut off the water – this can lead inspectors or buyers to think it’s a bigger issue like a troublesome leak. Most running toilets or dripping sinks are a quick fix by just visiting the hardware store. Don’t feel confident watching a YouTube video on fixing it, a handyman can typically fix it without breaking the bank.
  3. Rotten window or door frames. Freshly painted window or door trim is a common way to hide rotten wood. Seller’s often think no one will notice, but a quick fingernail to the trim will reveal how soft and compromised the wood underneath is – and of course, lead a buyer to think it could signal bigger or more rotten areas in the home. Take the time to pull out the rotten trim and replace it instead.
  4. Flickering lights. If you have electrical issues, don’t try to hide them by just turning off the lights. A cheap voltage tester may help you diagnose the issue – if it’s a fixture, switch, or outlet. If you can’t trace the issue and fix it yourself, consider hiring an electrician. If a house appears like it has electrical issues this could cause a potential buyer to pass.
  5. Warm or cold spots. If your home has hot or cold spots so you supplement with a window AC or a space heater, a buyer is going to wonder why. Is the HVAC system not working properly, is it not big enough for the home, is the insulation not sufficient, or is it simply a dirty filter, clogged vent, or broken blower? Don’t let a buyer think they need to make costly repairs or replacements if it’s just a simple fix.
  6. Damp, smelly rooms. Trust me, you aren’t hiding anything with a can of Febreze. A damp, smelly room can’t be hidden by using a dehumidifier or air freshener to cover up the smell of mold or mildew. If there is moisture coming in, find it and fix the root cause vs. just covering it up or trying to.
  7. Old, drafty windows. A simple fix that many homeowners use is to seal windows with a plastic wrap. While it’s a cheap and easy fix, it’s a dead give a way that your windows aren’t functioning. If replacing the windows isn’t possible, consider using rope caulking which can be molded to fit around openings and cracks to make them airtight.

Taking the time to fix issues instead of covering them up with shoddy makeshift repairs will pay off in the long run. When selling your home, you want it to look clean and fully functional if you want to get buyer’s interest and get top dollar for your home.


Jennifer Ives-Groebl
Vice President, Senior Mortgage Lender
NMLS MLO ID: 532621

Author: Jennifer Ives-Groebl

Jennifer has been with Litchfield Bancorp since 1994 and was promoted to Assistant Vice President and Senior Mortgage Originator shortly after graduating the Connecticut School of Finance & Management in 1998. Stationed in both our Torrington and Litchfield locations, Jennifer is well known and respected in the local residential real estate community and recognized as a resource for some of the more difficult transactions. Jennifer resides in Torrington and is actively involved in the local community. She is a long time member of the Torrington/Winsted Rotary club and is currently serving as its Assistant Treasurer. Jennifer is involved with Litchfield County Board of Realtors and serves as chair of the Audit Committee and a member of the Public Relations Committee. She is also a member of the Fuessenich Park Partnership; and through Education Connection, has participated in the Mentoring Program.