Open houses: What to look for at an open house

Open houses: What to look for at an open house

Open houses are a great opportunity to view a home without having an appointment. There are certain things you can do to make the most of every visit.

When you’re beginning the home-buying process, you might not know exactly what you want. Even if you don’t find your dream home at an open house, visiting open houses will give you a better idea of what you might want and what you might be able to afford.

Even if you think you know exactly what you want, actually seeing different houses may open up your mind to new things. It’s not uncommon for people’s priorities to change throughout the home-buying process, and visiting open houses is one of the best ways to truly see what’s out there and learn about different homes.

Here are a few tips, which you will hear more about in the video:

• The more the merrier — The more open houses you go to, the more you’ll see what is currently on the market. This way, you’ll have a better frame of reference when you find a home and you want to make an offer.

• Ask a lot of questions, such as:
— When was the house built?
— When was the home listed?
— What are the seller’s motivations for selling?
— Do you know if there are issues with the property?
— Can you tell me about the schools in the area?

• Don’t get hung up on looks — While the aesthetics may be the first thing you notice when you walk into an open house, it’s more important to look beyond the cosmetics of the house and consider its construction. You’re buying a structure, after all, and anything cosmetic is easier to change than things like the layout, foundation or roof.

Joe, a homebuyer, discusses what to look for in an open house: “Really see what the construction of that home is like, and know that you can make changes to the cosmetics pretty easily but the foundation of the house is much more important, and it needs to be intact.

So really make sure you look at the greater construction of the house and beyond the cosmetics, because we had an awful peach home that we walked into; but we were able to see past that and see the potential that house had. It eventually wound up being perfect for us, and we made it our own once we moved in.”

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VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

BRIAN: I know one thing that really helped me the first time around was to do a lot of open houses. Look at a bunch of different houses; find what works for you, what kind of price range that you’re in.

BEN: Ask simple questions like do you know why the sellers are selling the property? Do you know if there’s any issues with the property? Are they looking to downsize? Or are they looking to relocate? Ask about the school districts. You know ask a lot of questions. It’s okay. The more questions you ask, the better it is for you.

ADAM: The main thing is maybe not the aesthetics, but the things you don’t think about like the roof, the furnace. You know, asking questions about how old some of those things are or how old the windows are, I think are important questions, because those are the things that could be the big expenses down the road.

JOE: Make sure you look at the greater construction of the house and beyond the cosmetics, because we had an awful peach home that we walked into; but we were able to see past that and see the potential that house had. It eventually wound up being perfect for us, and we made it our own once we moved in.

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