In the first part of this article we discovered that the most common way of covering up a home’s defects is through the use of paint. So now let’s look at three other tricks that unscrupulous sellers have been know to use.
#2 New Drywall, Texture, or Trim
Just like fresh paint on ceilings, a recently textured ceiling should also be a red flag. Sometimes sellers will resort to fresh ceiling texture when paint won’t cover the defect as well as they would like it to, particularly if there are cracks or deviations in the drywall panels. A popcorn or vermiculite type of texture can be very effective in hiding defects causing small cracks to disappear entirely. Another common trick is to replace baseboard trim in areas where water has gotten into the wall and settled in behind the trim. What might on the surface seem like a nice upgrade could turn out to be very problematic later. Some sellers have even gone as far as having a new layer of drywall, or gypsum board, placed over the top of the problematic layer. While this is not common it is yet another trick that a professional inspector is trained to catch.
A classic trick that is still in use today and can be very effective with unsuspecting and naive buyers is simply placing objects over or in front of problem areas. Furniture is often used to hide problem areas on walls and floors. Rugs and carpet make it easy to cover up issues with floors just like sheets of wood and tools in the garage can hide cracks in the garage foundation. Some sellers have even been known to intentionally leave their basements cluttered to hide clues of water damage or foundation problems.
#4 New Roofing
Wow, the seller just put a new roof on the house. This could save you thousands of dollars, or cost you thousands. What if the seller was covering up structural problems or did not remove the previous three layers of roofing. A poorly installed roof could be a liability to you if it was not done properly or to the prevailing code. Are you prepared to climb on the roof and are you properly trained to know if it was done properly? A new roof could be a blessing or it could be a liability, only a trained professional can really tell the difference.
So I think we’ve come to realise that what might seem like a blessing on the surface could actually turn out to be quite disastrous. We’ve also learned that the only way to ensure that these new finishes are not covering up defects is to utilise the services of a professional inspector. Professional inspectors have tools and techniques that are specifically tailored to see beneath a shiny facade and uncover potential defects. Besides that, a seasoned inspector has seen every trick in the books and is also not susceptible to the “rose colored glasses” syndrome which is so common to homebuyers.