Home Buyers: What to Look For at Your Next Open House

Home Buyers: What to Look For at Your Next Open House

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Open HouseAn open house can be overwhelming for potential home buyers. In today’s competitive market, many homes have upgrades and are nicely staged to impress buyers. But savvy home buyers know what to look for when attending an open house. Go beyond just what you’ve seen in pictures online and note any of these potential red flags.

Too Much Aroma

While home sellers often are told that aroma can help make a sale, too much of anything is a bad thing. Real estate experts say that the more pleasant smells there are, the higher the likelihood that the home seller is hiding a more offensive odor. So, if a house has a lot of scented candles, plug-ins, and so forth, smell each room carefully and look for signs of mildew, smoke, or pet accidents on the floors, ceilings, and walls.

Bad Tiling

Look carefully at the tiling in bathrooms and kitchens. Pros warn that you may want to think twice if you see gaps or uneven tiles, because this could indicate a do-it-yourself job. Bad tiling can mean multiple fixes have already been done, and this could be expensive to repair in the future.

Foundation Issues

While the majority of homes have some hairline cracks, larger gaps could indicate foundation issues. There are a number of other signs of foundation issues such as uneven floors, windows or doors that stick, and cracks above window frames.

Signs of Neglected Maintenance

If a homeowner has neglected regular home maintenance tasks, it’s likely that they have neglected other tasks as well. This could mean that there will be trouble later on.

Signs to look for include leaky faucets, unmown grass, faded paint, blown-out light bulbs, and anything else you can see that would indicate a homeowner is not keeping up with regular home maintenance. You want to buy a home where everything is in good working order from the get-go.

Bad Windows

Pull back curtains and inspect the windows and frames. Make sure they all slide easily and the frames aren’t crooked. Windows are incredibly expensive to replace, so you want to buy a home with good ones already in place. Also, if you find windows that stick, it could be a sign of foundation issues as well.


Be sure to open cabinets in the bathroom and under sinks to look around drains and water pipes for signs of mold. Look for grey or black spots. These can also be found on the caulking in tubs and faucets and sometimes even on ceilings.

Water Damage

Although you may not see standing water in the home, you may smell a musty odor which can indicate water damage. Look at all the ceilings and the walls for water lines, as these may have been caused by flooding from a burst pipe.

Cosmetic Enhancements

Cosmetic enhancements such as one freshly painted wall could be to hide something, like a patch of mold. If hardwood floors have area rugs covering them, check underneath to make sure there’s no damage or staining. Be careful about houses that have too much done to them cosmetically.

Inadequate Ventilation

Without proper ventilation in the house, there will be increased moisture in the air. This can cause mold and be harmful to those with allergies. Look for window condensation or bubbling paint around doors, windows, and vents.

When buying a new home, it’s important to know what you’re getting into. While a home inspector can identify a lot of problems after you’ve already made an offer, the open house provides an opportunity for you to make a decision beforehand. Give each open house your full attention as you walk through and look carefully for any potential issues.

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