Buying a house is one of the largest investments you’re likely to make in your life. Careful thought and planning should go into finding a house that meets your current and future needs. A lot of homebuyers start by looking for an open house to determine their exact interests.
Visiting an Open House
During an open house there is a lot to view and you may feel that there isn’t always a lot of time to do it. Here is my list of 22 must dos for you to consider when viewing a home.
Dim the Lights
Most realtors will turn on all the lights in each room, but make sure that you spend some time with the lights turned low, or off. You won’t live in the house with the lights on all the time, so make sure you consider your living condition when viewing a room.
Turn Off Any Music
If there is music playing, turn it off. Pay attention to the white noise of a home. You may hear some traffic outside that you normally wouldn’t have.
Don’t Smell the Coffee
Don’t get distracted by the fresh coffee or baking. Pay close attention to the smells a house has to offer.
Size Up The Rooms
Pay close attention to the furniture contained in each room. Do the bedrooms contain tiny beds making them look larger? Will your current furniture fit within the room, or will you have to buy new stuff?
Scrutinize the Ceilings
Is there any damp staining or discolouration on the ceiling? These could indicate a leak. Even a fresh coat of ceiling paint may be an indication of a previous leak.
Run a Finger Down the Window
Any condensation could indicate poor insulation. Take a look at the window frames for signs of rotting or leaking. Most windows will have a serial number, which will indicate the manufacturing date of the window.
Does Your Phone Work?
Try to make phone calls throughout the house. Poor cell reception in certain areas of the house may also indicate what WiFi reception will also be low and the installation of Ethernet cables is required.
Turn on a Tap
Check whether the hot water is working, and how long it takes to warm up. This may give an indication of the potential for frozen pipes in extreme temperatures.
Check for Cracks
Minor hairline cracks are a common characteristic, however larger cracks should be investigated more thoroughly.
Are the Walls Flat?
Ripples in a wall could indicate moisture or signs of property movement. These should be flagged and investigated further.
How do the Gutters Appear?
Do the gutters and downpipes appear old or show signs they have leaked? Along with missing roof tiles, this could cost you money.
Check the Brickwork
Is there a chimney that is leaning or bulging? Is there any deterioration in the grouting? All these factors could push up maintenance / repair costs.
Gaze Out the Windows
Pay attention to the neighbouring buildings. How busy is the road and try to determine if this road condition will be consistent of just certain times of the day. Pay attention to where the light falls at different times of the day.
Pay attention to the condition of property trees and gardens. Are you up for maintaining them? Are there any adjacent green spaces that you may need to monitor / maintain?
Check the Attic
Is the attic properly vented? Is there access to make any repairs?
Check for a Sump Pump
Staining around the edges of a sump pump may be an indication of previous flooding.
Storage Space Available?
Pay attention to the amount of extra storage space available? Plan where you are going to store your vacuum, cleaning supplies, and any seasonal items.
Check the Heating / Air Conditioning
Spend some time and turn on the heating and AC units. How well do they function? This is often something overlooked in the off-season.
Restrictions Against Remodelling?
Ask if the property / neighbourhood have any restrictions against potential remodels? Determine when the gas and electrical systems were last serviced.
Meet the Neighbours
After you view the house, go and talk to the neighbours. Ask about any work the current owners may have carried out. Very brief interactions with neighbours can give you an indication of the type of people you may be living near.
Take a Walk
Pay attention to the condition of the other properties in the street. Where are the nearest schools and transportation routes? Are there any drainage concerns in the street?
Listen to Your Gut
If you don’t have a good feeling about the house, it’s probably not right for you.
If you are finding yourself rushed during an open house or would like another opinion on a property, I would be happy to setup a visitation for you and we can view this listing together. Contact us today to setup a viewing on a home you are interested.