An open house can be a good opportunity for a potential home buyer to find out if the property will work for them. Open houses can also be how home buyers find out if the property has any negatives or potential problems.
There are plenty of things to look at besides the layout of the home and the room sizes when you attend an open house. Here are a few things you need to look for:
When you see a home online or an open house ad, you may think it is perfect. But one huge detail is if the location is desirable or a potential liability!
In real estate, it really is all about the location. A crappy house in a good location is better than a great house in a bad location.
But what makes a location good or bad?
If you see a lot of properties for sale in the neighborhood, this might be an indication of a problem. Your home is probably the largest purchase you’ll ever make so make sure the location is fantastic!
If you are buying a home in an unfamiliar area, you may be unaware of problems in the neighborhood. What looks like the perfect home may have issues that are not readily apparent.
This is why home buyers need to really check out the location. Don’t think that visiting a home on a Sunday afternoon can tell you about all of the neighborhood’s problems.
Before deciding to make an offer on a home, be sure to check out the neighborhood at different times of the week. There is a difference between what happens on a Sunday afternoon and rush hour on Monday or on a Saturday night.
Location Issues to Look For:
Many home buyers think that they can simply ask the Realtor or the seller if there are any crime problems. The truth is the seller may think there are not any problems or their answer may be deceptive.
Real estate agents cannot answer questions that are a violation of Fair Housing laws. Asking about the people that live in the neighborhood are the types of questions we can’t answer!
This means the home buyer should ask the police department about crime in the area. Also, home buyers must do their own research online about the area.
Look at https://www.nsopw.gov/ or at http://scor.sled.sc.gov/ConditionsOfUse.Aspx to check if any sex offenders live in the area. The sad thing is these websites may not be 100% up to date or accurate.
I also strongly suggest that you research the local schools. Even if you do not have any children, the local schools will greatly impact home values today and in the future.
I suggest talking to some people in the neighborhood to find out whether they think it is a good place to live. Finally, get a local newspaper to see if there are any potential issues.
You will need to find out if property values in the neighborhood are rising or falling. Your Realtor should research the homes in the neighborhood to determine what is happening locally.
They will look at how long it is taking for homes in the neighborhood to sell. If it takes a long time for homes to sell, it could be a sign of an undesirable location or that the market is slow.
Something else to check is the ratio of rentals to owner-occupied houses. Some people have less respect for a property and their neighbors if they are renting. Some but not all…
Do you see any new homes being built or homes being remodeled? It’s a good indication if that a location is desirable if you see either!
Look at how the surrounding homes are maintained. Look at the cars parked in the neighborhood. You can tell a lot about the neighborhood by just these 2 things.
Also, look for any new businesses opening up or relocating into the area. Businesses normally study a location extensively before building or buying a new property.
If there’s commercial development happening or planned to happen, it can be a sign of an upcoming neighborhood. If there are not any businesses close by, it could mean that businesses consider the neighborhood to be risky.
However, you need to also consider what type of business is moving into the area or is already close by. You need to think about the noise, traffic and any annoying odors!
Look at the existing businesses to see how they are maintained. If the local businesses care about their appearance, it is because their customers care.
Do your research about the neighborhood before making an offer!
Look at the Foundation and the Roof
One of the biggest and most important things to do when buying a home is to pay for a professional home inspection. But you should be able to spot any obvious problems with the foundation or roof during the open house.
Also take time to check out the roof, gutters and the eaves of the home. If there are any issues, it could mean costly repairs. While the buyer might be willing to address the issues, it is a sign that home maintenance has not been a priority!
Visiting an Open House and the Nasal Appraisal
Many sellers make an effort to influence the senses of buyers with pleasant smells. This is very common but can be masking a potential problem.
When you notice a great deal of effort to hide or conceal odors during an open house, you may want to look at why. There could be mold or mildew in the closets, bathrooms, basement or crawlspace.
Never Overlook the Obvious at Open Houses
If you notice quite a few things that should be repaired, it can be an indication of maintenance issues. If the seller has properly maintained the home, you probably won’t see any small obvious stuff.
A few things here and there is not a big deal. But, numerous small repairs can mean the home could be a money pit!
A few small things can be easily overlooked and should not freak you out. But some important maintenance issues are not as visible to the untrained eye!
Buying a home that needs repairs or renovating can be expensive in the long run. Do not overlook the obvious in your excitement of seeing a home that fits your budget, needs and wants!
How Much Can You Spend on Repairs and Updates
Some people look at homes that need repairs without first determining how they will pay for the work. Before looking at homes, determine how much you’re prepared to spend on repairs and upgrades.
You MUST decide what you can spend and precisely how this will affect what you can and should pay for the home. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
When to Negotiate and When to Run Away
Serious issues mean spending serious money. The cost of the home and the required repairs should not be greater than the repaired home’s value.
It is better to NOT buy a home than to buy a home that is a money pit!
Are You Willing To DIY?
If you’re considering hiring people to do the repairs, this can end up costing more than you think. It’s crucial that you understand that home repairs and upgrades can go over budget.
It is important to be realistic about buying a home that needs work or updating. You may think that fixing a home up sounds great but finding the time and money can be difficult.
It can be very risky to buy a home that needs work. This is why many home buyers want a home that is move in ready and needs nothing.
If the majority of home buyers realize this is best for them, it is possible it is the best choice for you.
The Take Away
Open houses can provide a great sense of what it’s like to live in a home. they can also be the perfect opportunity to rule out homes with issues that you must avoid.