What to Check for at an Open House

An open house is the perfect chance to get a good long look at a piece of real estate for sale. From the moment the realtor decides to place the open house announcement in the real estate listings until the moment you arrive, the real estate agent is preparing to show you the best the house has to offer. Keeping this fact in mind, there are a few things you’ll want to check for to get a good idea of the property’s actual quality.

If you’re looking at former rental homes, pay close attention to wear and tear that was lightly covered up. Look past the new paint and at the actual upkeep of the structure beneath. Check for discoloration in the walls or ceilings, which may point to a plumbing problem. Look at the trim along the floor and ceiling as well. Straight lines indicate a well-built property, while badly joined trim can mean uneven angles at corners of a room.

Ignore the smell of the cookies normally placed in an open house to add homeyness, and sniff around for the smell of mold. You’ll want to listen for the rattle of an old HVAC system, especially in rental properties where repairs may have been limited. A look at the roof is also recommended, as missing shingles or obvious damage can equal costly repairs.

Use the same process for checking out commercial real estate as you do for homes for sale. Act like a home inspector to reduce your chance of being stuck with a piece of real estate that has a large repair bill attached.

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