When you’re in the market for a new home, attending open houses is a smart way to get a feel for what’s available. But how can you ensure that you’re more than just an onlooker? Here are five tips to make the most out of open houses and truly assess a property’s potential:
The first tip to a successful open house visit is strategic planning. Start by researching the neighborhoods you’re interested in and schedule your day to hit multiple open houses in that area. Use online resources to find out open house dates and times and map out a logical route to save time. Prioritize the properties you’re most interested in, and allow yourself enough time to explore each one thoroughly.
Staging is a powerful tool that sellers use to make homes more appealing. However, it’s essential to look beyond the décor and focus on the structure and function of the home. Pay attention to the layout, room sizes, and natural light. Check under rugs for floor damage, open and close windows to ensure they work smoothly, and don’t be swayed by paint — it’s an easy fix that can distract from more significant issues.
During an open house, it’s critical to assess the maintenance status of a property. Some signs of poor maintenance, such as water stains on the ceiling, peeling exterior paint, or a musty smell in the basement, can be indicative of larger issues. Don’t hesitate to ask the hosting agent about the age and condition of the roof, heating and cooling systems, plumbing, and electrical work. Request documentation on any major repairs or upgrades that have been done in the past.
To truly gauge a property’s potential, you need to ask the right questions. Some to consider include:
Having a prepared list of questions can help you get valuable information that isn’t always apparent through observation alone.
An open house visit should extend beyond the front door. Take time to walk around the neighborhood and observe the surroundings. Look for signs of community health: Are the other homes well-maintained? Is there a lot of noise or traffic? How are the amenities and parks? You can even talk to neighbors to get insider information about the area and any potential concerns.
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