What to Look for at an Open House

You’re ready to buy a home and have done all that’s necessary: saved money for a down payment, inspections, and earnest money deposit, checked your credit files, and, have shopped mortgages and been pre-approved. Now, you’ve found a few choice homes that fits your wants and needs. The online photos look great, and, they’re all a short commute to work. The prices seem reasonable but you want to see each in person to check things out.

What to Look for at an Open House

You’re excited to tour these homes and are looking forward to the open houses. When you attend, you’ll not only be able to see everything first-hand, you’ll also be able to get some questions answered; however, this isn’t enough. You need to take advantage to all that an open house offers and use the tour as an opportunity to learn more. You’ll probably go right into the kitchen, check out the bedrooms and bathrooms.

As with any big purchase, buying a home should be carefully planned and well thought out before any paperwork is signed. As a buyer, you should use an open house as an opportunity to ask a Realtor questions and imagine how the house you are walking through could work as a home for you. You want to learn and know as much as you can about the house so you can make an informed decision when it’s time to buy. —National Association of Realtors

While there’s certainly nothing wrong with doing this, these areas shouldn’t be the only ones to get your attention. An open house provides the chance to learn a lot, not only about the home, but much more. Here’s what to look for at an open house so you make the right buying decision:

  • The neighborhood. Take some time to drive through the neighborhood. What you’re looking for is the number of homes for sale, the general state of the neighborhood, and, its accessibility, as well as proximity to work.
  • Recent renovations. While you might be ecstatic to see a renovated kitchen or an updated master bath, you should know why and when it was done. In most cases, these are welcome updates, however, there are instances when renovations are done for reasons which are unnerving. Ask to see the permits, if applicable and take a close look at the quality of the work.
  • Privacy. You might love the location and the size of the home, but, privacy will certainly matter if you learn too late that’s it’s an issue. Think about day-to-day life and how much privacy the home provides. If it isn’t sufficient, it’s usually an easy fix.
  • Other buyers. While you might just see other buyers as competition, these individuals can be great indicators. For instance, if you pull up and see other buyers going inside while you look over the landscaping and then leave shortly after, there’s definitely a reason. However, if you walk inside and see others having a conversation with the seller or seller’s agent, that’s a good sign.
  • Maintenance issues. It’s a fact that some sellers are too eager but just don’t do what’s necessary to get the home ready to show. If you discover deferred maintenance, it’s unfortunately a sign the current owner isn’t interested in upkeep.

In addition to these, you should ask questions, like why is the home being sold, how many previous open houses have been held, and how much interest has the listing generated? The answers to these questions will provide you with valuable information and help you to make a more informed decision to buy the right home.