Sniff Out Potential Problems When House Hunting

Avoid costly repairs by trusting your nose when house hunting.

When you're looking for a new home, be sure to look with your nose, not just your eyes. A bad smell may be a sign of a larger issue that could cost you dearly.

Take a big whiff of the air when you're outside the house. Do you smell sewage, gas or anything else that's unpleasant? Sewage systems in homes older than 20 years often get clogged or damaged by tree roots. If you're buying an older home, sewer and plumbing companies can send a camera through the pipes and determine if there are any blockages or breaks.

Keep your nose at attention inside the house as well. Do you smell cigarette, pet or mildew odors? If you can't smell anything but the huge baskets of potpourri all over the house, this could be a red flag as well.

Pet and smoke smells can be minimized with a little cleaning and elbow grease, but will take a long time to fully dissipate. Mildew and mold smells indicate a much larger problem -- mold removal can cost thousands of dollars, plus whatever's letting moisture in will need to be fixed.

If you notice a strong smell but are interested in the house, hire an inspector who will pay special attention to unmasking the foul odor.

Next Up

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Searching for a house to buy can be daunting, and most of the homes you see won't be what you're looking for. Get through it efficiently and painlessly by avoiding these common house hunting mistakes.

Which Game of Thrones House Do You Belong In? Take the Quiz and Find Out

With the season premiere of Game of Thrones only two days away, we just can’t wait to indulge in a little GOT fun. So, tell us: Are you a fierce warrior hailing from the House of Baratheon? Or perhaps you belong in the House of Lannister, spending your days lavishing in the lap of luxury. Find out which of the Great Houses of Westeros is the one for you.

Figure Out Your Financial Strategy

Know what you want from a home before buying one.

Check Out Your Friend's Credit

If you are buying a home jointly with someone else, your credit score may not be the one the lender looks at.

Rent Out or Swap Your Unsold Home

If you're having trouble selling, try marketing it as a vacation destination.

How Do I Figure Out My Home Value?

Here are four things you need to know about how appraisals are done.

Look Out for Foggy or Nonfunctioning Windows

Foggy windows can be a big problem, so keep your eyes open when home buying.

Always Have a Back-Out Plan: Contingencies You Must Have

When dealing with appraisals, loans and flaws in the condition of the house you're about to buy, having a contingency plan allows you to back out of the purchase with no penalty.

How Much for My House?

Try betting on more price choices for the buyer

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