What do you pay attention to when going to open houses?
Most people look at the layout, the amount of light and the overall look. However, this is not all there is to it. While these factors are important, you should also consider other things.
The truth is that most sellers present their home in the best way possible when an open house is happening. They deep clean it, upgrade elements and stage it to look good. And most people are tricked by this perfect image. But, it’s what underneath the glitz that should interest you the most.
If you’re not careful, you can miss a whole host of problems and end up with more work than you bargained for. And if you’re a first-time homebuyer, it’s that much more important to pay close attention to things that may have been covered up.
What should you look for?
The answer: everything.
But, considering that you are not a professional, hiring an inspector could be your best bet. They can notice everything that you have missed.
However, some things you can do on your own if you turn on your inner detective.
For one, be certain that you like the neighborhood. Don’t let fancy words trick you. “Up and coming” can often mean something entirely else. Use your own common sense to decide whether that neighborhood is safe and good for you.
Also, know what you want before you start looking. Do you want a finished home? Do you want a fixer-upper?
Decide beforehand and don’t allow yourself to get into a situation where you have to put it way more work into a home than you want to.
Develop a list of priorities, something you don’t want to compromise on and stick to it.
Here are some other things to pay attention to:
- Does the home smell just a bit too nice?
If you walk into a space that is overflowing with sweet smells, you should question what they are trying to cover up. Sometimes, owners have a way more foul smell to overpower, so you’ll find cookies baking in the oven, spices and smells everywhere.
In some cases, this is fine, as they just want to make their home memorable. But, if you can tell that they are trying too hard, it’s probably best to assume that something is being covered up.
So, cookies baking in the oven are fine, as long as that’s the only smell they are trying to force on you. Sometimes, realtors use this trick to make the home homier. However, if there’s too much going on in terms of smells, an overkill is trying to hide something – like mold, which you can learn about here.
Sniff around – what does the space around the house smell like? Can you sense what the smell is covering up in every room?
Look at ceilings and walls – is there mildew, mold or smoke? Does it smell like there was?
- Bad tiling job
Experts suggest that you should also pay close attention to the tiles in the kitchen and bathrooms. What you are searching for is a DIY job. The spaces between the tiles would be uneven, some tiles may be slightly more pronounced than others and so on.
Here are some other problems that can signal to you it’s a bad DIY job: https://www.bankrate.com/real-estate/warning-signs-house-flip/
What this can tell you is that the house was flipped or that it was a fixer-upper. There’s nothing inherently wrong with either unless someone inexperienced remodeled the home. This can make you question what else did they mess up.
This is a tough thing to check, but you should try anyway. The most important thing to know is that thin, hairline cracks are perfectly normal.
However, bigger gaps are not. You can tell that something is wrong with the foundation if the windows and doors are sticking, there are cracks above or around doors and windows, floors are bumpy and uneven, etc.
You can check the floors if you roll a marble across the room. Mercer Hughes Real Estate Group says that you shouldn’t be embarrassed to do this – open houses are there for people to assess whether a home is suitable for them and you have the right to check everything out.
- Poor maintenance
Some homeowners don’t take good care of their homes, and you can tell. Look for signs of neglect. Things like: uncut grass and bushes around the home, lightbulbs that don’t work, leaky faucets, fading paint and so on are all red flags.
While all of these are fairly inexpensive to fix, it can make you wonder what else were they neglecting. Their HVAC system? Electrical installation? Their roof?