Most of the home sellers invest money in pretty things like new cushions, lamps, and even new carpets to give the house a boost. Some offer cookies so the house will smell homey and cozy. You might be “wowed” by how neatly the furniture is arranged or how clean the house is. But remember that these are all just staged!
Don’t lose focus on what you need to look out for. You are not in the open house to admire how the house was staged but rather you are there to feel and see if this is the best home for you and your family. Look past the pretty decorations and keep a keen eye on the important details of the house.
Here are some of the things to look out for in an open house.
1. Foundation cracks
This implies that the house might not have a solid foundation. These cracks won’t be too obvious so it would be best to check for misaligned doors and windows or sloping stairs or floors.
2. Signs of water damage
Brown water lines across ceilings and on walls indicate water damage. You can also check under the sink cabinets to check signs of water damage due to leaky plumbing.
3. Check and test the windows
When buying a newly renovated house or an old house, chances are the windows are old and it may not close tightly. This can cause you high utility bills so test a few or if possible, all windows to know if it opens and closes easily and securely.
You might also want to add in your notes to check if they are facing the correct direction to let the sunshine in or if you have a nice view instead of the neighbors’ window or outside wall.
4. The neighbors and neighborhood
Home improvements are something that you can always plan and do it in time you feel that you need to do some changes to your home. However, there’s no such thing as “neighbor renovation”, meaning you can’t improve your neighbors. So, in an open house, it is in your best interest to observe your surroundings.
Also, don’t forget to check the neighborhood. Is it near the local schools? How far is it from the nearest public transportation stop? Is it near the grocery? These are many questions that you can ask depending on your needs and wants about the location.
5. Smell of the house
Sometimes in an open house, you are welcomed by the scent of air fresheners, scented candles, or freshly baked cookies. This smell can leave a good impression but at the same time, you should ask yourself if this is just part of the home staging or are they masking something?
It could be the smell of mold, pet damage, or the musty scent due to the water damage.
Remember, the nose knows!
6. Age of the roof
Roof replacements are potentially expensive so if you are not planning to spend money on renovations soon after purchasing the house, then take a good look at the roof. Thoroughly inspect the walls and ceilings for water stains. Do it on every floor, not just the top one! Depending on how the house was constructed, roof leaks can travel through the top floor to the lower levels.
7. Electrical Outlets
Electrical outlets are essential nowadays. Make sure to check if there are enough outlets for your appliances and other electronic devices.
8. Storage Space
Don’t just look at the closet space but also look at the total storage space of the house. Is it enough to keep your things organize and can it accommodate all your extra stuff? Imagine your out-of-season equipment, holiday ornaments, and even the boxes that we can’t bring ourselves to throw yet… you have to give them some space too!
These are just a few of the things that you should look out for during an open house. If you are attending multiple open houses in the next few days or weeks, then it is best to keep notes and photos of each open house. Document everything as much as possible, so when it’s time to make a decision, it would be easier to rule out houses that don’t pass your standard and you can focus more on the ones on which you’d want to place an offer.
Ready for an open house? Contact me at 239-331-9432 or visit my website.