By: Kyle Spearin
When you are looking for a new home, you probably have a fair idea of what you want to see. Most home buyers will look for certain aspects like a big yard or a roomy kitchen. While that is fine, there are plenty of other factors you should be considering
when you check out an open house.
In this post, we are going to cover the ins and outs of what to look for when visiting an open house.
Walk The Property
Doing a sweep of the property is incredibly important. Take the time to walk around the entire area to get an overall picture of what is around. Take note of what you see. Is it well maintained? Is there any visible wear or damage? Focus on the house
and surrounding area. Check out the neighbors too!
Visit The Home During High Traffic Times
When you are checking out an open house, it really pays to go during a high volume time. Going in the evening or early morning (if the hours allow for it) will show you the reality of the neighborhood traffic. You can always drive by during these hours
at any time just to ensure there aren’t any noticeable problems that might cause an issue, like an abundance of used street parking.
Check The Foundation and The House Level
The foundation of a house can tell you a lot about whether or not it is a good investment. If you are looking to get a house that will last, you absolutely must check it out. Look for any cracks or the appearance of settling. The house should be standing strong. If not, not only will it cause you problems down the line, but it
can tell you a lot about the owner.
The foundation of a home is something that should be observed and tended to as needed. If you see a home with a bad foundation, it might not just be that the house has problems. It might offer you a lot of insight into how attentive the current owners
are. A foundation issue might speak to an overall maintenance issue, which should always worry you. Poor maintenance can lead to high costs down the line.
Scan The Yard For Potential Problems
The yard is going to be a very important point of focus when you tour the property. Look around for weeds, dried grass, or abandoned gardens. A lot of people have been known to let their yards slide, which can be a very costly expense to you after you
become the home’s new owner. As you look at the yard, keep an eye out for anything unusual.
Dried grass and missing grass patches can be a fairly big problem. Also, use this opportunity to scope out the local vegetation. Are there any trees and plants? If so, what do they bring to a home? Some plants attract bugs or are known to cause allergic reactions
in a lot of people. Some are just known to make messes!
Look For Signs of Pests
Keeping an eye out for pests is one of the most important things that you can do as a new buyer. While you might not outright see any bugs or rodents, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t there. However, if you do see any obvious bugs or rodents,
this can be a huge red flag. Generally, pests do not simply show up in small numbers. They almost always trend towards infestation—which can be an incredibly costly expense. Look for animal droppings, visible filth, or even insect wings. These can all indicate that the house has problems you are
Review The Basement For Risks
The basement is a space that every single homeowner should tour. While they might only show you the main spaces, try to look at them with a critical eye. Do you see any water or stains? Are there any cracks? If the basement is finished, does it look like it was done professionally?
Some home sellers have been known to try to finish their own basement in order to boost their sale price without making a large investment. Be sure to ask about anything strange or out of place.
Note The Windows
The windows of a home are very important. Look at the window placement. How will the sun move throughout the home every single day? Is there a window that will have the sun shining right on your tv in the family room? Are the windows in good order, or
do they look run down?
The age of the windows is important. Consider asking if the windows are the original ones—and if so, how old are they? Windows play a huge role in the energy efficiency of a home, so make sure that the windows are secure and able to provide good insulation,
otherwise, you might end up paying some unexpected costs.
Look For Cracks In Concrete
There is concrete all over a property in most cases and it can tell you a lot about the home. Check the concrete all around and within the house. This includes driveways, garages, and even sidewalks. If the basement is unfinished, check there as well.
When concrete breaks, it has a tendency to continue breaking. A small crack today can be a huge problem tomorrow, particularly during the rainy season.
Issues with the concrete can be an inconvenience down the line. Make sure there aren’t any cracks spreading throughout so you don’t end up spending too much money because of a problem that started before you bought the house. If it isn’t in a terrible
place, you can also reference this to drive down the overall cost of the house as well.
While viewing homes for their features and aesthetics are important, it is also important to look at the more “boring” home elements. In many cases, looking at these areas can help you to ensure that you are getting a good deal on a house that you will love instead of a future investment you didn’t expect.
A keen eye can certainly save you quite a bit of spending and time on repairs down the line!