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HIP Home > Remodeling > Buying/Selling >

Ten Signs of Cover Ups

Buyers beware — some sellers could care less about you and your money. Sound shocking? Believe it. You don't necessarily have to assume the worst when house hunting, but be sure to observe each house carefully. We have a few tips on what to look for when house hunting, and have compiled some common "tricks" sellers employ to sell a less-than-perfect piece of property.


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  1. Floors: A new looking rug or piece of carpet could be hiding a damaged stained, chipped, burnt, or scratched floor.
  2. Water problems: Be wary if only one wall in a room has been painted or papered. Someone may have quickly covered up water stains due to faulty plumbing problems.
  3. Tiles: Grouting between tiles does tend to change color with age. If somebody has replaced some tiles the grouting will look very white. If the tiles are low down maybe the wall behind is damp.
  4. Taped-down carpets: Most carpet is held down with tape or gripper rods. If the carpet has been glued down, then somebody obviously doesn't want you to see what its hiding.
  5. New paint: Fresh paintwork on timber could mean that the house is well maintained if it has been done properly. But it can also be a cover-up for water damage, rot, or other problems. Take a closer look, or ask the sellers why the area was freshly painted.
  6. Ceilings: Freshly painted ceilings might be a sign of a leak or other damage.
  7. New floors: New floors covering could well be a cover-up for recent flood damage. Compare the new floor to other floors and check where local rivers are. You can also check to see if the house has been built on a flood plain.
  8. Unstable foundation: Strange cracks on the walls, uneven paint jobs, or even dazzling paint effects can be signs of a much bigger problem: unstable foundations. Check closely for this type of problem as it's often unfixable.
  9. Windows: Double glazing, especially if it is only on one side of the house may have been installed due to noise, draughty windows or smell coming from a neighboring building.
  10. Security: Window locks, grilles, CCTV cameras, or burglar alarms can all mean that the house is in a high crime area or is particularly susceptible to burglary.
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