Open houses are like mini-fantasies. You get the chance to imagine yourself living in the home you’re visiting. You can think about how you’re going to decorate, where you’ll put your furniture and how you’re going do the landscaping.
But you shouldn’t be spending all your time looking for a good spot to put your bed.
When going through open houses, there are a few things you need to keep in mind and be on the lookout for.
Here are seven simple tips to keep in mind when attending open houses.
The last thing you want is a broken sewage system. For most people, it’ll be on them, not the city to cover damages to the septic or sewage system, which is usually paid through homeowner’s insurance. Regular home inspections don’t often cover sewage inspections, so it may be worth spending the extra money.
You’d think that if someone’s living in a house and inviting people in, then the foundation must be good condition, right? Not always.
Serious problems can lurk in the foundation, especially cracks. Cracks are difficult to repair, and they are costly. If you visit a home with a crack in the foundation, don’t bother putting in an offer. The cost and hassle is usually not worth it.
Water damage is a sign that something is wrong in the house. It could be a leaky or busted pipe, or it could be the lasting effects of a recent flood. If you see water damage, ask about it.
Not all signs are obvious. In the basement, look to the utility systems and storage bins in the basement. Are they on the ground or propped up? Does the basement smell musty? Is the carpet new? All of these can be signs of water damage.
When you by an older home, there’s a good chance the wiring will be outdated. Bad wiring can be annoying, but it can also be deadly, especially if it sparks and starts a fire.
Open up the fuse box in the basement and check to see which kinds of knobs it had. It is has little toggles, it’s somewhat updated. If it has white knobs, you will probably have to rewire the home. Consider this when deciding on making an offer.
Home insurance claims may be filed in the event of a flood, fire or break-in. If a home is near a pond or lake and has flooded, then you may be in for floods down the line if you decide to purchase. If the home’s been broken into multiple times, then you might not be in a safe neighborhood.
Before you leave, ask the owner about any insurance claims filed on the home. The claims will be listed in the disclosure if you decide to make an offer, so there’s no reason for the owner to lie to you. It’ll all come out anyway.
A lot of problems can be hiding out in the roof, including bug infestations and mold. Few people ever take a good look at the roof. Unless there are obvious signs of damage, most potential homebuyers assume it’s in good condition.
Appearances, however, can be very deceiving. Roofs usually last for about 20 years, and if you buy a home with an 18-year-old roof, then you might have to replace it sooner rather than later. Replacement usually costs about $25,000, and making other repairs can also be costly. Although it may be difficult to see all the damage on a roof, do try and look or at least ask when the roof was last replaced.
While older windows may look my stylish, they may be painted shut or they might not be shut tight at all. When the weather is hot, you’ll want those windows to open, and when it’s chilly, you won’t want that draft coming in. Remember to try and open all windows just to make sure they work.
Open houses are fun, but don’t forget, you’re there to work. Avoid distractions and take a good look at what might be your new home.