Open houses are often a potential buyer's first chance to get an in-person look at real estate they might buy. With this limited opportunity to take a deeper and more thorough examination of the house, what should you focus on during your open house visit? Here are a few key things to look for and why.
1. Leaks and Cracks. Moisture can be a big problem for homes, but it's often hard to spot in well-executed pictures or even video tours. When physically inside the home, keep an eye out for moisture rings or leaks in the ceiling and upper walls, around windows or doors, around the toilet, under sinks, and under eaves. Similarly, look for cracks on interior and exterior walls, on floors, and around the foundation.
2. Neighbors. One thing that pictures can't teach you is how the neighborhood is. Drive or walk around to see how the area feels. Is it noisy, full of children or barking dogs, or marred by traffic noise? Is the neighborhood ringed by industrial businesses that could be smelly, dirty, or even dangerous? What's the condition of neighboring houses? Are there a lot of "for sale" signs?
3. Water Pressure. Turn on a few faucets within the home — possibly including the shower — to see how the water pressure is. Trickling water when put on full blast could be an indicator that there are deeper plumbing issues you may not want to negotiate the price for or ask the seller to fix.
4. Storage. Modern American homes need lots of storage, but this isn't always a given. Photos and videos don't always give an accurate impression of how the storage space is. It may have appeared larger in the photos — or it might have seemed nonexistent. Look around for yourself at what there is to work with and how it's placed around the home.
5. Elevation Changes. While you may expect a flight of stairs, some homes actually have more elevation changes than it first appears. Elevation changes may occur between certain rooms (the living room and entryway, for example), to get to the garage or basement, to reach rooms added over the years, and to enter or exit the house. There may even be level changes in the yard. That adds up to a lot of climbing, which you may not want to do as you and your family age.
If you use your open houses wisely, it will be a great complement to pictures and videos in your house-hunting venture. Talk with your real estate agent today to find open houses in your area and learn more.
This website can serve as your home for information about real estate. Here, you will find articles about the buying process and others on the selling process. We've also included content related to getting a mortgage, finding a real estate agent, and scheduling an inspection. We hope that by addressing all aspects of the real estate world, we will make you better prepared to handle any real estate transactions that might be in your future. After all, real estate can be a really smart investment, but only if you buy the right home and know how much to offer. Start reading, and enjoy what you find.