How to Avoid Hidden Defects When You Buy Your First Home


Have you found a home you want to buy but worry about hidden defects? Here’s how to quell the stress and know what you’re getting in 3 easy steps.

1. Understand the connection between hidden and visible defects.

Every state requires home sellers to reveal any visible issues to potential homebuyers in writing. Most states have some sort of a disclosure form that lists any visible problems. 

When reviewing this form, make sure that you understand the connection between visible issues and invisible ones. For instance, if the sellers list a leak in the roof as a defect, understand that there may be mold and mildew inside the rafters or walls of the home. 

Surface problems are often indicative of much deeper issues that can make the purchase a bad idea.

2. Listen to your Realtor.

It’s a good idea to review this form with your real estate agent. There’s a good chance that your agent has seen virtually all possible types of problems and can help you understand which ones may be a deal breaker for a homebuyer. 

Rely on the agent that you chose and his or her years of experience when trying to understand what these issues may mean. Some invisible issues with a home may be relatively insignificant, while others can make the home a potential nightmare.

3. Always have an inspection.

The agent who represents the sellers is responsible for making sure that you know about every defect that their client knows about. However, it’s a good idea to schedule a home inspection before you purchase the property. 

A licensed home inspector will check out every part of the home to look for both visible and invisible. Your agent may even be able to negotiate with the sellers’ agent to get them to pay for the cost of the home inspection!

When a colleague of mine made the decision to purchase his first home, he found a wonderful ranch-style home that was situated close to his workplace.

As a first-time homebuyer, he didn’t even think about the risk of problems with a home beyond the ones he could see. 

Thankfully, his real estate agent sat down with him and showed him the problems that the seller had listed on the disclosure form. She also made sure that he scheduled a home inspection that had to be completed before his contract became binding. 

When the inspection report came back, it revealed structural issues and the presence of mold inside the walls of the home.

Needless to say, he made the decision to look for a different home. 

A couple months later, his agent found a property for him that was better than the first and met all of his requirements. 

These are just a few ways to avoid hidden property defects, and sharing strategies like these is one way I help my clients avoid costly mistakes when they purchase a home.If you want to go from renting to owning with clarity and confidence so that you can build wealth, control your environment, and enjoy the comforts of home, comment below, send me a DM or book a call.

About Diane Cohn

Diane Cohn runs a mastermind for female breadwinners who want to go from renting to owning with clarity and confidence so that they can build wealth, control their environment, and enjoy the comforts of home. A prior top-producing Realtor, real estate industry marketing executive, and housing market commentator on YouTube, she has profitably bought and sold property in every kind of market over 30+ years.