Open houses are excellent ways to be able to visit several houses as well as locations to see if anything piques your interest. It is much easier to visit open houses than it is sometimes to make appointments with home owners for a certain time on a certain day. But, what is it that you actually need to look for instead of only what you want?
It is very easy to visit a home and like the decor, or the furniture or gardens. While that may be important, there are other things that need to be considered and looked at when trying to decide what is right for you. Remember, open houses are staged or prepared for the best visual optimization. Some things will not be visible in just a shallow examination. Become an inspector and look for the hidden problems.
- Walk around the home and look at the foundation. This is typically the concrete slab that the home is sitting on. Look for any large cracks in the foundation. At the same time, look for cracks above doors inside the home or across a wall. As stated before, these may be masked as much as possible but if there are cracks, this is a very good indication that the foundation is bad and will need repaired, if possible. Sometimes, if the foundation is cracked bad enough, the home could be declared condemned.
- Inspect the electrical wiring, especially in older homes. Amazingly, some home still have the old style wiring that is wrapped around porcelain conduits. This means the home has not been updated in many, many years and could be hazardous. Also look for blackened areas around wall outlets. This would mean the outlet probably doesn’t work. Even though it is quite economical replace outlets, it could also mean that is an electrical short that may or may not need to be repaired.
- Inspect the ceilings to see if there is water damage anywhere on the ceiling. This would be an indication that the roof may leak.
Of course, some of these things will have to be repaired after a home inspection if you decide to buy the home. But it is always a good practice to know about these things and their severity before it gets as far as a home inspection. If you have a good rapport with your real estate agent and you trust him/her, you can always speak with them about your concerns as well. So, become an inspector and look for things that no one thinks you may find out.