Monday, February 22, 2010

Red Flags to Look for When Buying a Home and Homes from the French West Indies

Real Estate: Red Flags to Look for When Buying a Home
Architecture: French West Indies Homes
Real Estate: Red Flags to Look for When Buying a Home

Home inspections are absolutely essential when purchasing a home. I don't care whether you live in a sate that allows you to purchase a home without one, get one anyway. A house in your biggest expense (for most people) - buying a house without an inspection is like buying a used car without having a mechanic check it out first.

Unfortunately, home inspections can be costly. Luckily there are a few things to look for when buying a home (that you can identify yourself) to help give you some idea about what's going on with the house. For more information visit

1. Neighborhood: Ok, so it's not a physical part of the house but it IS important to the overall value of your house. Look up and down the street - is there a lot of homes for sale? What condition are the homes in around your potential house? If there is a mass exodus from the neighborhood (aka a lot of homes for sale on the street) you might want to ask what's going on in the community/neighborhood that might be causing it.

2. Condition of the house exterior: if there is moss growing on the roof, grass in the gutters, gravel in the flower beds, spot of dirt in the yard, or fallen down trees it is quite apparent then that the owners didn't bother to take very good care of the home. This will mean you will have to pay for it in the end. (Roofs are expensive to replace, etc.)

3. Foundation: Look at the slope of the yard, specifically look for drainage issues. If water runs down the yard it should show in the yard. Also look closely at the foundation of the house, if there are cracks or crumbling brick (or whatever the material is) then it needs to be repaired (usually if the cracks are bigger than 1/3 inch then it hints at major structural issues - not that they can't be fixed, but it might be costly).

4. Smell the house (inside... and out): When you walk into a house, it's ok if it smells lightly. If it's heavily scented with potpourri, then that is a red flag they are trying to cover up a smell. It may be something as simple as cigarette smoke or as bad as rotten meat that was accidentally left in the kitchen - either way, be aware.

5. Old Wiring: ok, so you aren't an electrician. But if you walk into a house and the lights flicker or the face plate's make a noise when you flip a light on (like a hissing or a buzz) that is bad or old wiring and is a huge fire hazard.

6. Fresh paint...on one wall: fresh paint in a house is great! fresh paint on just one or two walls, not so hot. That is usually a huge red flag that there was damage of some sort and it has been repaired. Repaired is great - as long as it checks out and was properly done. Mold or water damage is never fun to have to continually deal with.

7. Locked doors or blocked off rooms: if you really like a property, ask for another showing in which you can see those rooms. Sometimes homeowners may be using them as storage, but there may also be something wrong in those rooms you should know about. As a rule of thumb, if a homeowner refuses to open a room or storage space or acts weird about it - avoid the home altogether no matter how much you love it.

8. Windows: Check all the windows and make sure they work. If they are foggy they might be double pane and have water in the middle. Windows are expensive, so pay attention.

9. Open floor plans: If your home has an open floor plan, make sure to see if it was always open. If the homeowner did renovations to make the floor plan open, they may have moved load bearing walls which can in turn shift the rest (or the older) part of the home - causing more damage in the long term. Just make sure the job was done properly!

10. Bugs: if you see dead bugs everywhere, or bugs in general, there may be a pest problem. It may be easy to remove the bugs with a simple call to the exterminator or it could be as horrible as termites!


Architecture: French West Indies Homes

 So I have a serious obsession with everything French, West Indies and Creole. The homes are stunning, the traditions are warming, and the history is more than vibrant and interesting. The French West Indian and Creole culture is a way of life, it's not something that is easily explained nor easily put into words.

Regardless, I did a little research and found some homes that are located in the (Caribbean) French West Indies. Check them out, simply gorgeous little places:

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