Visiting an Open House: 5 Things to Look For
If you are thinking of buying a house, chances are that you’ve considered popping into an open house–and maybe you already have! Especially if you are just dipping your toes into the housing market, an open house can be a great way to start your search for the perfect home. As a buyer, an open house is a low-pressure way to start looking at homes. You can get a feel for a house and a neighborhood without the pressure of a personal tour, where a real estate agent will be showing you the home and peppering you with questions and comments. To find local open houses, just search for “open houses near me,” and you are sure to find a variety of homes to visit. In order to get the most out of open houses today, here are 5 things you should look for during an open house.
Sure, some people just like the smell of a Yankee Candle, or maybe they just happened to bake a batch of cookies right before the open house. But a strong scent might be a coverup for the fact that the house normally smells like cigarette smoke, pet urine, or mold. If the house has an overwhelming scent when you walk in, make sure to look for signs of smoke, pet damage, or mildew, and feel free to ask the listing agent directly about potential problems.
Evidence of Water Damage
While a musty scent is one sign of water damage, it is not the only one. As you walk through the home, check for water lines indicating previous leaks in the ceiling and walls. In the basement and laundry room, look for leaks and rust or water stains. Water damage can cause expensive repairs that you need to know about before you make an offer.
Discreetly open a few windows and pull back the curtains to look for lopsided frames. Windows that are lopsided or fail to slide easily may have been improperly installed or may indicate that the foundation has serious problems. The solution may be as straightforward as replacing all the windows, but that is an expensive repair you should keep in mind when making an offer. A faulty foundation may be a little harder to overcome. Either way, you want to know about it before you make an offer on the house.
General Signs of Neglect
Most people selling a home want it to shine. If they can’t be bothered to mow the lawn before an open house, what else have they brushed aside? A home that has gone years without basic maintenance may have a list of hidden faults. Keep an eye out for faded and chipped paint, weedy gardens, and leaky faucets.
Too Many Recent Renovations
On the opposite side of the spectrum from neglect, be wary of too many recent home improvement projects. Why is someone who is about to move putting so much money into the home? It could be that in hopes of selling the home quickly or at an inflated price, the homeowner has put in a cheap kitchen or bathroom. While it may look pretty, a shoddy improvement project will cost more in the long run by necessitating expensive repairs. There may be an innocent explanation: the family made these improvements but has to move unexpectedly due to a job change or divorce. But it is worth checking into.
If you are thinking of checking out an open house in the Lancaster, PA, area, reach out to The Jeremy Ganse Home Selling Team. Our real estate agents would love the chance to help you find your dream home.