6 Red Flags to Look for at Your Next Open House

open house tipsYou’ve seen the pictures of your potential dream home online. The stylish furniture, natural lighting gleaming through the windows, and stunning architecture all but completely steal your heart. You’ve noticed that the listing has an open house coming up, and you’re planning on seeing it in real life.

But don’t get ahead of yourself – instead of racing in ready to make an offer, you’ll want make sure that this house is definitely the right one for you. After all, open houses are kind of like a first date: meeting in person is often much different than viewing photos online and can help you determine if you should move on or see it again. Here are 6 important red flags to keep your eyes peeled for – and some important questions to ask – at an open house:

Tell-Tale Smells – Pay attention to your sense of smell when you first walk in the home. Are there overwhelming scents – good or bad – that you can’t ignore? If you smell overly good smells and notice several plug-ins, candles, and wax warmers, beware. The owner could be trying to mask mold, mildew, smoke, or even pet accidents.

Poor Maintenance or Neglect – The small things matter in most areas of life, and open houses are no different. If you notice small issues such as burned-out light bulbs, a shaggier yard, or leaky faucets in the bathroom, it could be a sign that the owner doesn’t do a great job maintaining the home, which can negatively impact the home.

Signs of Mold – Mold can be tough to detect, but keeping an eye out for certain signs can help you spot problems quickly. Take a look around at the ceiling, water pipes, drains, or even the caulking around the tubs and faucets. Even tiny dots of black or gray can indicate that mold is an issue in the home.

Water Damage – There are a few ways you can see if the home of your dreams has water damage. Aside from a musty odor, you’ll want to check for rust, leaking, or water stains near exposed piping. Pay close attention to the basement as well. If you notice any wetness or staining on the carpets, walls, or flooring, the home may have a problem.

Foundation Problems – No one wants a home with foundation issues. Be on the lookout for misaligned or sticking doors and windows, sloping stairs, crooked floors, and large, visible cracks above the window frames.

Aging Roof – Don’t forget to look up at the roof before you leave the open house. How does the roof look? An older roof will need to be replaced, and it will be expensive. Even if you love the home, you will need to factor in saving enough money to replace a roof (think about $12,000).

Don’t be afraid to ask the listing agent some questions as well! Here are a few key things to ask:

*Why are the owners selling their home?

*How long has the house been on the market?

*Are there any noteworthy issues with the home?

*Has the price changed at all?

*What are the average utility costs?

*Is this home located in a flood zone?

*How is the neighborhood?

*Has anyone made an offer?

With this knowledge, you will be able to tell whether a home is worth seeing another again or left behind. If you’re in the hunt for your dream home, don’t forget to check out our listings or give us a call at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298. The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties can help!

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