We all know that interest rates are still incredibly low. Plus, although they are rising, home prices are still affordable. However, don't let this lead you into believing that any home purchase is a good one. Yes, we are currently in a buyer's market. However, you do have to exert due diligence before you buy. There are plenty of red flags out there telling you to move away from a purchase. Some problems can be fixed, of course, but sometimes you should just move on. There are two things you definitely have to look into.
First and foremost, check the neighborhood. This is of absolute vital importance. The community is either growing and decline and you need to find out which one it is. If there are many foreclosed homes and businesses, the community is going through tough times. Do also come back to the neighborhood on different days and at different times. This is also a great opportunity for you to get to know the traffic. Do also come at least once at night, so you can see whether the streets are safe and quiet at night or not. Speak to the police and ask for statistics on local crimes.
The second key factor to look into is for you to figure out whether you are looking at a foreclosure or short sale property. Indeed, these properties tend to be the cheapest, but that is because they often require a lot of work or because the entire neighborhood is declining.
At the end of the day, you should never purchase a property that you haven't had inspected professionally. With the information above, you should be able to tell whether or not you might want to hire a professional inspector, or whether it is a clear no on the purchase. If there are any existing problems, you may want to consider not buying the property at all, or asking for a very significant discount as you will have to invest in the repairs sooner or later. Also, always trust the advice of home inspectors. They are there to make sure you don't buy something that isn't worth your while.