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  • Writer's pictureKate Barnes

4 Steps To Effortlessly Find The Red flags in A Palo Alto Home For Sale

Updated: Feb 25, 2022

Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you'll make but when you fall in love with a home for sale, it's easy to miss the red flags.

Here are 4 steps to effortlessly find the red flags in a home for sale and give yourself peace of mind on your real estate journey.

#1 Home and Roof Inspection Reports

#2 Termite Reports

#3 Neighborhood Nuisances

#4 Future Development Plans

You've just seen the home of your real estate dreams in Palo Alto! You saw the other buyers scouting the house, you know the competition is hot! In all the excitement, you want to make an offer quickly to get ahead of the competition.

Then your heart drops as you open your email to find an almost 200 page document to read before submitting the offer this afternoon?!!

Feeling overwhelmed, you can either take the afternoon off work to read through the paperwork, focus on the most important elements of the disclosure package or leave it to luck. I strongly encourage you to read the disclosures. However, there are certain parts of the disclosure package that will highlight the red flags you might be looking for.

#1 Home & Roof Inspection Reports

Pay close attention to the Home & Roof Inspection Reports. This is one of the main documents that will reveal everything that's wrong with the house and detail any areas of concern structurally and aesthetically as well as list the recommended repairs to be done once the home changes ownership.

Does the home need a new roof? Perhaps the electrical or plumbing elements need to be updated. The side gate could be broken or the shower isn't sealed properly and has a water leak.

Many home owners live in their homes for years without doing very much maintenance to the property. Therefore, it's important to be realistic and understand that usually there are a number of items in any house that will need some attention. Reading the home and roof inspection reports will give you insight into what exactly needs to be done, what is the scope of the work and potentially even help you to get an idea of the costs involved to complete the work. However, there may be specific renovations that you want to stay away from, or that don't make sense to invest in when you can buy the house next door for a little more and not have the hassle of doing the upgrades.

While it's advantageous to be realistic and understand that no house is perfect, having an understanding of the condition of the home, beyond the aesthetics, is extremely valuable information to help you decide whether that is really the Palo Alto home you've been manifesting.

Most importantly, this document will highlight any red flags that may give you headaches later down the track.

#2 Termite Reports

Similarly to #1, termite reports are one of the most important documents to read before purchasing a home for sale. In Palo Alto (and the greater bay area in general), it is not uncommon for a home to have dryrot, fungus and/or termites. Though this sounds nasty, it's so common and can be easily fixed by a professional. At the end of each termite report there will also be a quote to suggest the costs involved to do the repairs.

Tenting the property before moving in is also a great idea for any home for sale in Palo Alto, or any other part of the greater Bay Area for that matter.

#3 Neighborhood Nuisances

You've researched different areas and have decided to focus your efforts on Palo Alto homes for sale (or your favorite bay area neighborhood)! It's an exciting time for sure, but also an important time to keep your eyes open for neighborhood nuisances. Location is one of the few things you cannot change during home ownership.

People will always be drawn to different neighborhoods, whether it's to do with schools, lifestyle, proximity to work, proximity to family or friends and of course, budget! Beyond this however, there are a couple of ways to see if this is truly the right home for you.

In the seller disclosures (provided within the real estate disclosure packet) you will see questionnaires filled in directly by the seller(s) of the particular Palo Alto home for sale that you are reviewing. These questions must be answered honestly by the seller(s). There are a number of questions relating directly to potential nuisances close by, whether they be airplanes, trains, neighborhood dogs barking or even just a nuisance neighbor.

The second way to build your confidence (or lack of confidence) when buying a home is to do a neighborhood scout yourself. I always suggest that buyers who are unsure about an area should go to the area in the evening, after dark and see how they feel there. Palo Alto is known as one of the safes parts of the Bay Area but everyone has different thresholds of comfort and preferences, so it's important that this is done by the buyer(s).

#4 Future Development Plans

In some cases, future neighborhood development plans can be incredibly lucrative. For example, the new Google campus at Diridon Station in San Jose or even just seeing the numerous custom builds popping up in the Willows neighborhood of Palo Alto, can been a wonderful sign for future equity gains.

However, if those plans are to take place right next door to your beautiful new house, you will need to take into consideration living so close to a construction site for a period of time. This can mean daily increased traffic congestion, dust and noise.

If you are planning to sell or buy a home in Palo Alto and would like assistance, I would love to hear from you.

Kate Barnes


METIS Real Estate 415.521.6813 | |

Youtube: Kate Barnes Realtor | Dre 02092777

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