Tips for Buyers: 4 Things to Look For at an Open House

Whether you’re deep in the house-hunting process or are just getting started, attending open houses can be a great and low-pressure way to see what’s out there. As you prepare to visit an open house, however, there are some things you should know to look for that might influence your decision to put in an offer.

Here are a few things to consider as you prepare for your residential move.

1. Masked Smells and Odors

When you first walk into the home, make note of any smells that you notice. If the first thing you smell is a strong, artificial scent (such as that from an air freshener or candles), the seller may be trying to mask some underlying odors. This could be odors from pets, moisture issues, or other problems that you’ll want to know about before you buy.

While fragrances and scents aren’t always an indication of a seller trying to mask a foul smell, it’s crucial to enter open houses with a critical eye (and nose!).

2. Neighborhood Issues

When you purchase a home, you’re not just getting the house and the property. You have to live with your neighbors too. While you probably won’t be going door-to-door to meet each neighbor for yourself, you can usually tell quite a bit about a neighborhood by simply driving or walking around the area.

Before or after you attend the open house, consider taking your own little tour of the area. Are the houses nearby well maintained? Do people take pride in their homes? Unfortunately, location can ruin even the most seemingly perfect home.

3. Other Buyers’ Behavior

While attending an open house, be mindful of the rest of the crowd. If the open house is only running for a couple of hours and you’re the only person there, it’s relatively safe to assume that there isn’t much interest in the home. You might wonder if there are underlying problems that have yet to be disclosed or if the home is priced too high.

On the other hand, if there is a large turnout at the open house, this should prepare you for the possibility of a lot of competition. If you decide to put in an offer, consider making it an aggressive one or prepare for a potential bidding war.

4. Signs of Damage

Finally, look out for other signs of damage as you tour an open house. For example, cracks alongside walls and ceilings may indicate underlying foundation problems. Meanwhile, a musty smell might tell you the home has experienced moisture issues, and mold may be lingering somewhere.

Ultimately, you’ll want to have a home inspection done before you close the deal on any property—but being on the lookout for hidden signs of issues early in the process can help you avoid wasting time and stress on homes that have a lot of maintenance issues.

Make Your Next Move a Breeze

Being observant at an open house is a great way to get a better feel for whether a home may be right for you. Once you have had an offer accepted and a closing date set, our team can assist you in getting moved and settled in as soon as possible. Contact us today to request your free moving quote!