Viewing An Open House Objectively

Remaining objective during an open house can be a difficult task when shopping for a new home.  It is easy to fall in love with the way a home is staged and in general its physical appearance. Aesthetics can, should and will be a consideration when you start looking at new places.  However, it is necessary to look beyond the window-dressing  to make sure that you aren’t purchasing a home with physical problems that you can’t or aren’t willing to deal with.

A qualified home inspector should be hired before purchasing a home, but before you do that there are areas that you can look at on your own. By viewing an open house critically you can help to shorten your list of potential homes and reduce the likelihood that a home inspector will reject it as unsafe or unsuitable. Here are some considerations and common problem areas to look for when touring an open house.

Tips For Viewing An Open House Objectively

  1. General Upkeep: Much can be surmised from the general state of the home. Is the home clean? Are lawns left uncut? Are the walls chipped and in need of paint? If smaller chores have been ignored it may be an indication of a broader disregard for home maintenance.
  2. Water Leaks: Check ceilings and drywall for stains, bulges and other signs of water damage. Water that works its way inside via a leaky roof or a cracked foundation can rot wood, create mildew and mold, destroy possessions and can be expensive to repair.
  3. Does it Work?  Test lights, faucets, the heater, air conditioning, major appliances (that are to be included with the home) – even flush the toilets to ensure everything is working as it should.
  4. Floors:  As you walk across the floors be aware of spongy (soft or springy) sections. Excessive squeaking and uneven, bumpy floors may also be indicative of expensive forthcoming repairs.
  5. Doors & Windows:  Check that doors and windows fit snugly in their jambs and operate smoothly. Look for flaked paint and loose caulking. If the wood around windows and doors is not protected from moisture, it can rot away. Feel for drafts in these areas too.
  6. Poor Drainage:  On a wet day walk around the yard and look for areas where water collects. This can be an especially bad sign if there are soggy areas near the home’s foundation.
  7. Grout & Caulking:  If the grout and caulking around bathroom and kitchen tiles is loose and crumbly, there is a good chance that water is finding its way into the wall or under the floor.
  8. Structural:  Although this is definitely an area where you want the services of a qualified home inspector, you can get an idea about possible structural problems if you see deep cracks in the foundations or loose mortar and bricks.
  9. Miscellaneous Concerns:  Naturally, one the most important factors will be determining if the house suits your family’s needs. If you do not want to replace all of your furniture, make sure it will fit into the rooms of the new house. This is difficult to do by eye, so be sure to bring a measuring tape. Also, take note of storage space. If you are moving from a home with large closets and a shed, make sure your new house is able to store an equal amount of belongings.

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