Monday, November 23, 2015 / by Bill Berning*
If you are attending an open house, you should make sure to create a to-do list. Here are some things to look for when attending an open house.
An open house offers a unique opportunity to get insight on a property of interest that you likely will not get by simply looking at online listings. Therefore, it is important to be hyper-vigilant to ensure that you gather as many details about the property, neighborhood and other potential buyers.
Attending an open house is a great time to get to know a particular property. However, most potential homebuyers don’t take full advantage of the opportunity. While you will likely review the areas of the home that the listing agent puts the most emphasis on, it is important to do your own homework as well.
You will want to make sure that you check out the areas of the home that the listing agent might be more likely to downplay because they do not demonstrate the best that the home has to offer. In addition, you also want to make sure that the home is the right fit for you and will meet the needs of you and your family.
Here are few tips on what to look for when you attend an open house so that you get a realistic view of the property.
Check Out the Yard and Other Outdoor Areas
Too many potential homeowners spend their time focusing on the interior of the home and completely overlook the yard and other outdoor areas of the home. Many homeowners tend to use their yard as a dumping ground or simply fail to keep up with the maintenance of the landscaping.
By checking the yard, you can also determine if there has been any damage caused by pests or animals. Once you buy the property, the costs to fix such repairs will be on you so you should be aware of what you are buying before you make an offer on the home.
If the home has a pool or outdoor storage tank, you may also need to call a specialist home inspector as a typical home inspector does not review these items. You will want to make sure that these items are not in need of serious repairs before you buy the home.
Get Confirmation on the Details of the Property
As you explore the home, you should make sure that you confirm the details of the property listing. Does the property actually have all of the amenities that were listed in the property listing? Does the condition of the home match your expectations? You should look out for any discrepancies and ask about the installation dates of any appliances or other items that might require an upgrade. By getting more detailed information on the property, you will be able to better estimate the costs of renovations or repairs that you might need to make to the home.
Watch Out for Major Problems
As you survey the home, watch out for signs of major problems that could lead to costly repairs. “Don’t think twice about opening closet doors, peering underneath a corner section of carpet, inside cabinets or behind paintings, which sometimes may be covering up damage or flaws in the house.” says Alex Veiga of The Associated Press.
Often you won’t find out about such issues until a home inspector reviews the property that you are interested in purchasing. Therefore, you should be able to at least spot the basic signs yourself. Look for any evidence of water damage, mold, cracks, or poor construction that could indicate that there are major problems afoot. The listing agent may disclose issues about the property but not unless you ask or indicate that you want to make a serious offer.
Talk to Other Neighbors In the Area
Visiting an open house should not only be about viewing the home itself. You should also make sure that you talk with other people that live in the area so that you can get a better idea of what it would be like to live in the neighborhood. You can also ask neighbors about the home that is hosting the open house. They might have quite a different story to tell than the listing agent. Therefore, if you want to get varied opinions about the neighborhood and the property, it is a good idea to reach out to the neighbors in the area.
Voice Your Opinions But Be Careful
When you attend an open house, it is a good idea to be upfront with your agent about certain things. However, you use caution when sharing information at an open house. Sarah Davis, a real estate broker in San Diego, says that you should “watch what you say around the listing agent. Be careful about revealing your price range. Should you decide to make an offer on the home, the agent may use anything you say against you in price negotiations. Do, however, be honest with the listing agent or your Realtor about what you dislike.”
If you want to make comments about the property while you are viewing it, you should bring a notepad along with you so that you can jot down your own notes in private. This way you can have a log of your honest opinions about the property without having to share them with the listing agent or other potential buyers.
If you take the time to review a home thoroughly when attending an open house, you can decide if the home is a good investment. This means that you will also be less likely to have regrets after you have made an offer on the home.
*This article is syndicated and licensed from Realtor.GetWrittn.com.