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Mon, 06 Aug 2012 14:00:12 GMT | By Liz Pulliam Weston, MSN Money
10 homes first-time buyers should avoid

From hidden damage to crummy neighbours, beware these 10 signs that your dream home may turn into a nightmare — before you sign the contract.



From hidden damage to crummy neighbours, beware these 10 signs that your dream home may turn into a nightmare — before you sign the contract. (© Realtor.com; Shannon Fagan/Getty Images; iStock)
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  • From hidden damage to crummy neighbours, beware these 10 signs that your dream home may turn into a nightmare — before you sign the contract. (© Realtor.com; Shannon Fagan/Getty Images; iStock)
  • Foundations for new houses in Dublin, Calif. (© David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
  • Home in Laguna Beach, Calif. (© Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
  • Couple examines plans of new house. (© Shannon Fagan/Getty Images)
  • House with aluminum siding missing. (© Al Behrman/AP Photo)
  • Messy neighbours can bring down the value of your home. (© iStock)
  • Special assessments can end up costing condo owners a lot. (© iStock)
  • Traffic can be off-putting to potential homebuyers. (© iStock)
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Too good to be true?
You've scraped together a down payment, with just enough money left over to pay closing costs. What you're unlikely to have, as a first-time homebuyer, is a big pot of cash to pay for repairs — or a clear understanding of how much certain home flaws can cost you down the road.

With that in mind, I consulted with appraisers and inspectors from across the country to uncover the major home problems first-time homebuyers should watch out for and avoid.

Novices should be particularly cautious about "bargain" homes, according to appraiser Dan Fries, of Daniel Fries & Associates in Cumming, Ga. They may come with problems that are expensive to repair or impossible to fix.

"Avoid the killer deal, as the chances are good there is some issue that made the other owner walk," said Fries. "Buying a dog of a house will always be less desirable than the cream puff with a good location."

Read on for some of the bigger issues to be aware of.

* Bing: Least expensive cities to buy a home

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