Avoid Buying a Money Pit | Expert Tips

The Marks Team are Triangle Real Estate Specialists highlighting our local community and offering expert tips and advice. They are ranked in the top 10% of agents at Keller Williams Cary. Interested in homes for sale, your home value, selling or buying a home in the Triangle? Don’t hesitate to Contact The Marks Team for all of your real estate needs. Serving areas in and around Wake County including Cary, Raleigh, Holly Springs, Apex, and beyond. 919-228-8019  www.themarksteam.com 

How to Avoid Buying a Money Pit | Expert Tips

avoid buying a money pit red flagsSo you’ve started searching for your dream home. Or maybe you’ve already found a home that you love. The price is right, the location is great, and you are eager to snatch it off the market. But how do you avoid buying a money pit?

Purchasing a home is a serious investment. Don’t wait until you’ve moved into a new home to discover problems that will guarantee costly repairs!

The Marks Team are Triangle Real Estate Experts. Not only can we help show you how to avoid buying a money pit, we have a North Carolina Home Inspector License so we are trained to recognize the red flags. Let us help you buy the home of your dreams today!

Deferred maintenance is a term we use a lot in real estate. What it really means is that the homeowners have put off routine home maintenance. Many homeowners fall behind on maintenance tasks, which is important in order to keep a home in good condition. Evidence of deferred maintenance is a red flag that there could be hidden issues that require costly repairs.

In your home search, don’t be swayed by design features and miss the warning signs! You want to make sure that the home you’re interested in is structurally sound. Here are a few expert tips to avoid buying a money pit.

Water Damage

Water damage can create huge repair bills for homeowners. The source of damage could be from several places and it’s important to have a professional take a look at water stains before buying a home.

avoid buying a money pit water damageStains on the ceiling are quite common and can often indicate a problem above the stain. It could be caused by a leaking roof, or if the home has a chimney, something could be wrong with the flashing allowing rain to seep in.

Plumbing leaks are also an obvious cause of water damage. A stain below an upstairs bathroom could indicate a leak in the tub, toilet, or sink. Stains on the ceiling could also be caused by condensation. If the stain is near a bathroom exhaust fan, condensation is usually the reason. It could be caused by an uninsulated duct in the attic.

The damage varies depending on how long and how severe the leak is. A moisture meter can help you determine if the leak is active or not.

If a homeowner notices moisture damage and repairs it early on, the cost is usually rather inexpensive. But if they defer maintenance, moisture will seep into the flooring and subflooring, resulting in much higher repair bills. Mold is another expensive side effect of moisture.

Cracked Walls

Cracked walls are also common and could be a result of natural home shifting but can also be a symptom of a larger problem. Vertical cracks are usually harmless but horizontal or angled cracks should be inspected closer.avoid buying a money pit tree roots

Water pressure is a common cause of cracks in the wall or foundation shifts. Water expands as it freezes and puts pressure on structures. Inefficient gutters, broken pipes, dense clay soil, or areas with high rainfall can create enough pressure to crack walls and foundation.

Large mature trees provide shade and privacy which buyers love! But roots can also create huge amounts of pressure on foundations. Take notice whether tree roots are causing any noticeable pressure on the structure of the home.

Cracks in walls could simply be the result of a hasty or poorly-planned build. Using the wrong materials or building when conditions aren’t adequate can create structural problems in the future.

Musty Odors

Hidden health hazards including indoor air pollution are another red flag that the home could become a money pit. Some pollutants like Radon gas can’t be seen or smelled and require a professional to detect.

Mold is the most common indoor air pollutant and we inhale the spores from mold every time we take a breath. When the air smells musty, mold is most likely present in the home. This usually means there is an underlying moisture problem.

Not only can these be costly repairs, they are health hazards for you and your family and require attention!


When looking through a potential home, play around with the thermostat. Turn it both low and high to see how quickly the temperature adjusts.

avoid buying a money pit heating and airNewer homes with poor insulation or older homes with outdated air systems are less energy-efficient and will cost you thousands of dollars to either invest in a new central heating and air system and/or repair insulation. Without repair, you will likely spend thousands extra in utility bills over the next few years.



Its okay to be demanding when you are house-hunting and looking at used homes. Insist on a thorough inspection, and invest upfront in proper examination so you aren’t stuck spending thousands of dollars later on.

You can never completely eliminate risk when buying a home, but practicing “due diligence” can help you avoid buying a money pit. It’s your duty to investigate the condition of a property and try to determine whether it’s structurally sound. Don’t make an emotional purchase without doing your homework!

Check out some of our other buyer resources!

For more information on money pits, or if you’re ready to invest in the home of your dreams, contact The Marks Team at Keller Williams Realty to help get you there. We are Triangle Real Estate Specialists serving Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Holly Springs, and beyond. We take a different approach to real estate, one that is built on personal touches and solutions tailored for you and your family. Let us exceed your expectations today! Call 919-228-8019 or visit our website at www.themarksteam.com

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