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Real Estate Tips

5 Things to Watch Out for During an Open House

Posted on Thursday, March 29, 2018
If you're buying a home, what do you need to look for during an open house?

You'd like to think that a home deal could be straightforward. You learn about the home, decide that it's for you, and you buy it. However, homes have all kinds of complexities. If you're buying a home, you need to be aware of potential issues before you make an offer, and that includes keeping your eyes and ears open when you're looking around the home. What should you look for at the open house?

1. Overall Cleanliness

When you're shopping for a home, you're not evaluating someone's housekeeping. However, if the house is not clean for the open house, this could give you an indication of the level of care that the homeowner has been putting into the home over the years. While the house may look well-kept overall, those small but annoying renovations can put stress on your psyche and your bank account.

2. Moisture Concerns

Take a look at the home for hidden signs of moisture problems. Examine the basement floors and walls, and check walls and windowsills for areas that are soft or warped. If you can, look under rugs to see if there are moisture problems. Inspect appliances like dishwashers, washing machines, and toilets as well. Repairing water damage can cost a considerable amount of money. Outdoors, look at the roof shingles and gutters to make sure that they are well-maintained since problems with shingles and gutters could lead to leaks in addition to roof repairs.

Moisture problems aren't just a home issue; they're a health issue as well. According to HGTV, "toxic black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum, as it's known to scientists, can release spores as it feeds on organic materials in common household materials like drywall, carpet, insulation or sub-flooring that have been exposed to moisture." These spores can cause many different health issues.

3. How Is the Infrastructure?

While you can't go into the walls to check out the electrical wiring when you are at an open house, you can test different parts of the home's infrastructure to see how systems are working. According to, "it can be difficult to identify problems in older electrical systems, which can result in electrocution or fires." Turn on a few lights and see if they flicker or dim. Turn on the gas and the hot water as well, to make sure that those systems are also working properly. Feel the temperature in different rooms to see if the furnace is heating evenly.

Make sure that your real estate deal goes well: look for danger signs at the open house.

4. Look for Balance

A home that has elements that are crooked is a home that could need some work. Roll a marble on the floor, or use a level to check interior and exterior doors. No home is perfect, but you should find that doors and windows close easily.

5. Look at the Neighborhood

What's going on in the neighborhood as a whole? If houses are tidy, schools are full, people are talking to their neighbors, and there's a thriving grocery on the corner, those are signs that the neighborhood is doing well. If you notice that the entire neighborhood looks unkempt and houses are boarded up, that could be a sign that all is not well. Ultimately, you decide what neighborhood you live in, but if you're thinking that you'd like your home to appreciate in value, consider where you are moving and what is going on there.

At Open for Homes, we want to make sure that buying a home is as easy as possible. Visit the blog at Open For Homes to learn more about how you can make the home purchase process simpler.