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Red Flags To Look Out For When Shopping For A Home Online

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When shopping for a home online, there are a few signs to look out for if a listing seems too good to be true. NY1's Jill Urban filed the following report.

There’s nothing like the disappointment of finding that perfect listing online, and then getting there to see that the home is far from perfect.

Teri Rogers of the BrickUnderground.com says there are some signs that a listing is not as good as it seems.

"The number one red flag that it’s too good to be true is the price is too low," Rogers says. "In this market, with this inventory so tight, there are no bargains. So if you see something that's too good to be true, it probably is."

Rogers says if the price seems too low, look at the listing closely.

For one, check the maintenance or common charges.

In some cases, the monthly fees are so high that the seller has to keep the price low to balance it out.

Since maintenance only goes up, buyers should make sure they do the math.

"Another reason the price might be too low is that there's a big assessment coming down the line for major capital improvements, or maybe the building is involved in a big expensive lawsuit," Rogers says. "You won’t find out definitively until you're in the due diligence process before you actually commit to buy the apartment, but you can always ask the broker and property manager."

Sometimes a price is low because the building is having a hard time getting financing.

If a bank won’t lend in a particular building, that limits the buying pool to all-cash buyers and, therefore lowers the price.

"Another red flag is when the apartment has been listed for longer than 90 days, and there's been no significant price drops," Rogers says. "That could mean the seller's unrealistic, or there's a problem with the apartment or the building."

Examine the listing's pictures.

If the drapes are closed, there may be a bad view or low light, or maybe the seller is hiding a construction site outside.

If the photos concentrate on one room or just the exterior or amenities of the building, that could tell you the apartment is probably in need of some serious rehab, so make sure a gut renovation is in your budget.

When shopping for a home, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new listing, but before wasting time running around for showings, just remember to examine a listing closely.

Like anything else, if it seems to good to be true, it probably is.

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