6 Signs The Home You’re Buying Might Be A Lemon


When it comes to buying a house, there are always elements of a for-sale home that might not be just perfect for you, but fixable in the near or long-term. But there are also signs that home could be a massive money pit with elements that are beyond reasonable repair. Opendoor recently released a list of the six signs that the home you’ve set your sights on is in the not-so-sweet category of (potentially) being a lemon, along with the three things you can do to lemon-proof your house hunt.

Opendoor has bought and sold nearly 3,000 homes in the Orlando metro since launching in 2017, so they’ve seen it all at this point. They are the local real estate experts that pioneered the concept of iBuying, a revolutionary and simple and way of buying and selling homes that takes the stress and hassle out of the process.


Any cracks on the ground, walls or ceilings can indicate a serious foundation or structural issue that may not be fixable. A general rule of thumb is that if you can fit a quarter in the crack, it’s an issue. If cracks are present in your potential dream home, invest in an expert to inspect the situation before moving forward.

opendoorLarge cracks along the interior or exterior walls of a home could signify costly fixes down the line. (Photo Credit: Opendoor)

Spots of fresh paint, carpet or flooring

‘Freshly painted’ might not be a good thing; it could be covering up a larger issue like mold or a band-aid repair job. Make sure you investigate and examine these ‘fixes’ to make sure they aren’t hiding a bigger problem.

opendoorIn many instances, a fresh coat of paint or new flooring is just a seller’s way of getting a home buyer ready. However, buyers are advised to pay close attention to small details to ensure that the new paint or flooring isn’t covering up a larger issue. (Photo Credit: Opendoor)

Pesky pests

You want to be the only one to occupy the home you’re buying. Don’t share it with termites and other insects, which can seriously compromise the integrity of your home’s structure.

opendoorA simple inspection by a trained professional should be able to offer you peace of mind that the home you’re buying does not have a pest problem. (Photo Credit: Opendoor)

Foul odors, inside and out

The nose knows a lot when it comes to the condition of a home. The smell of freshly baked cookies at an open house is nice, but musky, gaseous, smokey or noxious smells are not and could be masking a bigger problem.

opendoorIn the case of the home shown above, the mold damage is evident. However, sometimes buyers need to rely on their sense of smell to know if something is a little ‘off’ about the home they are touring. Trust your instincts if something doesn’t smell right. (Photo Credit: Opendoor)

Plumbing and electrical disasters

What you can’t see is just as important as what you can see. Especially in older homes, plumbing or electrical can be outdated and extremely expensive to fix or replace. Understand the current status of the major systems in a home you love. Turn on the water and test the water pressure, keep an eye out for dim or flickering lights – all signs that the systems aren’t working in the ways they should.

opendoorIf you’re serious about a potential home, make sure to check everything more than once to ensure it is in working order. Plumbing and electrical issues can be particularly hard to spot and very expensive to fix. (Photo Credit: Opendoor)

Nicest house on the worst block

You’re not just buying a home, you’re buying a neighborhood. A house that has been rehabbed and is now the most beautiful home on a block where other homes need some TLC can indicate an immense investment opportunity, OR the neighborhood could turn out to be a lemon for you and your family. Come back multiple times during different times of day to get a true sense for the neighborhood.

opendoorIn Florida, buyers can often tell how well a home has been cared for by looking at the home’s exterior and landscaping. Dying palm trees might indicate that the previous owners did not maintain the property or may suggest a diseased treescape. Keep an eye out for this across the neighborhood, too. (Photo Credit: Opendoor)

How to Lemon-Proof Your House Hunt

If the warning signs above have you running scared, we’re here to help. Opendoor has the top three strategies you can have in your back pocket to lemon-proof your house hunt.

  • Talk to an expert. Always get a second or third opinion in the form of a home inspection by a certified expert. The cost of the inspector’s time can save you thousands of dollars and hours of stress and heartache in the long run.

opendoorAnyone involved in the residential real estate industry – as well as any savvy homebuyer – will tell you that the cost of an independent inspection is money well-spent. (Photo Credit: Opendoor

  • Test EVERYTHING. Open up the closets, open and close all windows and doors, flip light switches on and off — anything you can think of to test, make sure that you do so to avoid some of the more obvious signs that the home is a lemon.

opendoorOpendoor lets buyers tour homes as often as needed on their own schedules. Feel free to stop by to test out light switches, power outlets, and more, throughout the day – on weekdays and on weekends. (Photo Credit: Opendoor)

  • Eliminate the possibility of buyer’s remorse. Consider purchasing from an iBuyer like Opendoor. You can self-tour any of the hundreds of Opendoor-listed homes for sale in the market using the mobile app (Android, iOS) to unlock the front door. Plus, every home comes with a 90-day buyback guarantee, so you can buy that new home with total confidence, knowing you can return it if it doesn’t turn out to be the right home for you.

opendoorWith a 90-day buyback guarantee, it’s easy to see why so many homebuyers feel so comfortable buying their next home from Opendoor. (Photo Credit: Opendoor)

Make Yourself at Home with Opendoor

Buying a new home can be one of the biggest decisions of your life. Opendoor understands that, which is why we hope you’ll look into buying or selling your next home with us. With the convenience of self-guided home tours and 90-day buyback guarantees, there’s simply not another company like Opendoor in Central Florida. Homes are being added to Opendoor’s inventory every day, so homebuyers are encouraged to check back often on Opendoor’s website at https://www.opendoor.com/homes/orlando. Buyers in the market for a new home are also encouraged to download the Opendoor mobile app to easily access details on available homes, and to use the app as a digital key to unlock Opendoor homes for their own self-guided tours on their schedule.

Opendoor is represented by Opendoor Brokerage LLC, a licensed real estate brokerage in Florida.


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Written by Lauren Leetun

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