When you’re engaging in the walkthrough of an open house, you’re likely walking on sunshine and daydreaming about your future. Enjoy the process, but don’t forget to dig down to the nuts and bolts of inspecting the house for potential problems. Eventually, the honeymoon between you and your new property will come to an end, and you’ll want to make sure you and your house can live together well into the future. Have your camera, tape measure, and notebook handy.
Curb appeal is important, and the homeowner should have prepped the outside of the house to be attractive. But look past the fresh paint and patio furniture to seek out potential problems. If there’s a fence, is it sturdy? If there’s a porch, does it have loose boards? Think about landscaping and maintenance, too. A beautiful house on a steep hill could come with a yard that may be a pain to mow. Don’t swoon over the things the owner did in preparation for selling the house, but think about the things you’ll have to maintain as the new owner.
The neighborhood is as important as the house since it will become your new community. How do the yards of the neighbors look? Are there unsightly toys scattered about an overgrown lawn? Are there barking dogs or screaming children in the yards? Take a moment to detach from the house and take in the surrounding neighborhood. If neighbors are out, don’t hesitate to introduce yourself and ask questions about the neighborhood or the house you’re considering purchasing. Do the neighbors seem like nosey nellies that are going to invade your privacy? Can the neighbors see into the home or can you see into theirs? Lack of privacy could be an issue in the future. You’ll also want to know what schools the house is zoned for, and if the community has an association with added fees and expectations.
Inside the Home
Once the outside of the home has made your approval, it’s time to check out the inside. As with the outside, the owner should have prepared the home for the open house. Things should be clean, tidy, and fresh. Check the carpets for tears or stains, the walls for damage, and go through the entire house systematically, step by step, making sure there’s no visible mold, water damage, leaks, exposed wires, structural damage, etc. Damage doesn’t necessarily indicate a deal breaker, but it will give you an upper edge in negotiating the contract to include repairs or an allowance for the work that needs to be finished. But being able to eye-spy problematic areas during a walk through could mean there are bigger problems lurking in the shadows of the structure.
Check the Details
Don’t be bashful when it comes to opening doors and drawers. You’re checking for problematic areas as well as measuring things like closet space and storage. Don’t swoon over the staging. Look beyond the beautification processes and dig into the down and dirty to know what it is you’ll be buying. And if the homeowner hasn’t prepped the house, cleaned, or staged, then use that as an identifier that things may not have been well maintained in the home and may contain problems with which you’d rather not deal.
Use your nose as well as your eyes when engaging in an open house. If you smell sour or offensive smells, it could indicate hidden problems or lack of care.
Windows should be free of anything that might obstruct the views, so if curtains are closed, you’ll want to open them. They might be hiding the fact that the kitchen window looks directly at the neighbor’s brick wall. Assess the rooms for light and window views.
Once you’ve sought out problems inside and out, and assessed lighting and views, you should make sure the floor plan matches your vision.
Investigate the neighborhood, the yard, the outside of the structure. Then cover the interior with a fine tooth comb. Engaging in open houses should be a dreamy experience. You should be able to envision living in the new space.
Interesting in buying or selling a home in Rancho Cucamonga? Call The Lisa DiNoto Group at 909-921-2544.