Whether you’re on the hunt for a new home or want to get an idea of what the market has to offer for when you’re ready to move, open house visits are always a good idea. However, these visits are useless if you don’t know what to look for in order to make an informed decision. If you’re working with a realtor, they will likely point out all the pros and, more importantly, the cons of a house. But in case you’re exploring the real estate market on your own, here are four things to watch out for during open house visits.
1. The Exterior
Before going inside, walk around the perimeter of the house and check the foundation, gutters, condition of the walkways, patio, porch, paint on the window sills and siding, landscaping, etc. Not only will this help you examine the house’s facade to decide if this is a place that you would be proud to call home, but it will also help you spot any issues in the property’s roofing, plumbing, or foundation.
As you walk around the house, look through every window from afar to see if potential peepers or nosy neighbors will be able to see clearly into your home. A lack of privacy might not seem like a big deal right now, but if there’s not enough distance between you and the neighboring houses, it might really start to bother you once you move in. Make sure you know what you can tolerate in terms of privacy because you wouldn’t want to feel exposed in your own personal space.
2. The Neighbors and Neighborhood
Speaking of which, when you make an offer on the house, you’re not just buying a new home; you’re also buying into its neighborhood and the people living in it, so take the time to walk down the street and get a feel of the area. Are the neighboring homes well cared for? Do your neighbors have dogs that were barking excessively during your visit? How heavy is the traffic in that area? Are there any transportation options available? Are there several homes for sale in the neighborhood? If so, could this indicate a problem in the area? Answering these questions will help you determine whether or not this is the right neighborhood for you and your family.
If you’re seriously considering buying a particular house, make sure to visit the neighborhood on different days and at different times first. That way, you can find out beforehand if your next-door neighbors turn into late-night party animals on the weekends or if the neighborhood is shady or unsafe after dark.
3. The Big-ticket Items
Plumbing, roofing, electrical, HVAC, and foundation; these are the five major areas where you can usually spot big-ticket items that can cost you thousands of dollars in repairs. As the handy advice from home experts at https://www.repairpricer.com/home-inspection-checklist/ summarizes, you should ask the listing salesperson about the age of the furnace, roof, plumbing, electrical, and windows. That way, you can be assured that you won’t have to make costly upgrades anytime soon.
You should also look for any signs of water damage by carefully inspecting the hardwood floors and baseboards, especially in the basement. Any warps or stains can be signs of burst pipes or past flooding. On the other hand, large cracks or discolored spots on the ceiling can point to a problem with the foundation or a leaking roof. You should also pay attention to the smell of the house; musty smells might indicate a mold or mildew problem.
4. Storage Space
Having insufficient closet space might not seem like a deal-breaker to you right now, but after you settle into your new home and find out that you don’t have enough room for most of your stuff, you’ll probably think otherwise. If you want to keep your home organized and clutter-free, pay attention to storage space during your open house visits. Keep in mind that older homes usually have smaller pantries and fewer closets, so take note of the shelf space and the number of closets in the house you’re eyeing to ensure that it has adequate storage that can accommodate your lifestyle.
Open house visits are a great way for prospective buyers to learn about a property. They also help you discover what you really want and don’t want in your dream home, which makes this an invaluable learning experience, even if you’re not quite ready to move yet. Moreover, visiting and comparing different houses teaches you to look past the superficial flaws and spot a great home when you see one. They also teach you how to spot a dud quickly. With these four essential pointers in mind and some thorough deliberation, you can safely avoid putting your hard-earned money into a money pit.