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5 Red Flags To Look For When House Hunting

Trust your gut — and this advice — if a house doesn’t seem up to scratch.

Poorly Maintained

Keep an eye out for signs of neglect, including rattling old windows, peeling paint and broken appliances. If a landlord is willing to show an apartment in a state of shabbiness or disrepair, it’s a good sign he’ll be slow to address any maintenance requests, as well.

In-progress Projects

The landlord may promise his partially done projects will be completed by the time you move in, but you have no way of knowing that’s a certainty. Since you don’t know the landlord well enough to trust his or her word, make sure you get something in writing that guarantees the date all work will be finished. If the landlord is on the up-and-up, then they shouldn’t mind signing an extra paper.

Overeager Landlord

It may seem kind of nice that a landlord doesn’t care about running any screening procedures like a credit check, or that they’re more than willing to knock the rent down to get you in the door. But beware of landlords who seem way too eager to dispense with formalities, as this could be a sign they’re trying to offload the unit as quickly as possible.Pay attention to your gut. If you’re getting a pushy car-salesman vibe and you aren’t comfortable, take note.

Ridiculously Cheap Price

If the rent seems too good to be true, it just might be. Ask the landlord point-blank why they are charging so little, and gauge the answer carefully. That super-cheap loft won’t look so awesome when you move in and realize that the nearby train rattles the walls at all hours of the day.

Unsafe Conditions

All units should have adequate exits in case of emergencies, including a window or door in every bedroom that’s large enough to serve as a fire escape. Basement and attic units can be especially spotty when it comes to these things, so take a good look around or ask where exits are located.

Look for other safety hazards. Exterior doors should have proper working locks. The apartment should have a smoke detector in the kitchen and preferably one in each bedroom, as well. If the unit has gas-powered appliances, look for a carbon monoxide detector.


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