Viewing an open house

Once we’ve determined what kind of home you are looking for, in what sort of neighborhood, and in what price range, we can start viewing open homes. Most people consider this the most exciting part of the home buying process. Because we will have already carefully considered your needs and wants, and pre-qualified you for a loan, your open home viewing will not only be fun, but efficient, as well. You won’t be wasting time looking at undesirable or unrealistic properties.

Viewing a home for sale, driving through its neighborhood, strolling its perimeter, and thoroughly exploring its interior-gives you the opportunity to imagine you (or your tenants) living there. This is the time to put aside your predetermined ideas, and use your observation skills and intuition to imagine daily life in the places you view.

Of course, sellers want to make their property as attractive to buyers as possible. If they have done their job right, the home will look clean, comfortable, inviting, and well cared for. Take as much time as you need to thoroughly inspect the environment: is the home really in good shape, or has it simply been prettied-up for a quick sale?

Some things you might want to look for include:

  • Quality of paint: Interior and exterior. Are there spots of cover-up paint visible? Any signs of peeling, cracking, fading, or mildew? Are rooms painted with the proper type of paint?
  • Landscaping: Is the property planted with well-established trees, shrubs, and perennials, or have a bunch of bright annuals been hurriedly shoved into the ground? Do the grounds look cared for?
  • Roof and gutters: It’s not a bad idea to take a close look at the home’s roof. Are there signs of dry rot? Signs of recent patching? Are the gutters clear and attached firmly?
  • Windows and screens, drapes and carpets: Are these items clean and in good repair? Do windows, screens and drapes open and close as they should? Check for quick cosmetic cover-ups.
  • Cabinets and closets: Are these functional, clean, and in good shape? Empty or sparsely filled storage spaces may look larger than they actually are. Think about the amount of storage you really need, and measure where needed.
  • Appliances and fixtures: Test them out to make sure they are in working condition. Look carefully for signs of age, misuse, hasty repair, or merely surfaces cleanliness.
  • General cleanliness: Look at baseboards, ceilings, behind appliances, around the home’s exterior. Will this home require extensive repairs and clean-up, or is it in tip-top condition?
  • Size of rooms: Ask yourself if your lifestyle would be well-accommodated in the home. Which rooms do you use the most? Are the rooms big enough for your needs? Remember to imagine your furniture in place of the existing furniture: sellers will often help rooms look larger by removing items you would normally want or need. Take measurements if you can’t imagine your own things in the space.
  • Layout of home: Is the home’s space well organized? Is it easy to move from room to room? Would the layout of the house support your routines and living habits? If you regularly use a home office, for example, is there an appropriate room situated in the part of the house you prefer to work, close to the other rooms you use often?

Obviously, different people will be concerned about different things when viewing a home: buyers in the market for a fixer-upper won’t have the same needs as a buyer wishing to move in immediately to an immaculate, structurally perfect home. Know what’s important to you in a living environment, and then make sure you look for it while viewing open homes.

Once you find a home you like, and which meets your requirements, we will begin thoroughly assessing its condition. Property disclosures will provide you with the information you need about the structural features and faults of a home, and a home inspection will fill in any missing details.