Do you know what potential red flags to look for at an open house?

We know buying a house can be overwhelming. The Lawhead Team would like to share these 5 tips from Coldwell Banker to help you get the most out of your next tour at an open house.

open house1. Take Your Time

Take your time during an open house. This will help you pick up on any recurring noises such as creaks, as well as plane or train traffic, which you may not hear during a quick tour, but may be a deal breaker.

Walk the neighborhood and take note of its general condition. Many homes for sale and boarded up businesses may indicate a neighborhood that is on a downswing. Any information you can glean about the surrounding area will help make your final decision much easier.

2. Tour the Outside

During the open house, walk the perimeter of the home if possible, and note any trees or shrubs that are growing close to foundation walls. Encroaching roots can be an expensive fix down the road. If the yard slopes toward the house, that may mean water is pooling around the foundation.

While foundation cracks are quite common, anything wider than one-third of an inch could mean a structural issue. Take note of the location and try to compare to the interior of the home, if accessible. Roof repairs, window replacements, and general upkeep (or lack thereof) will give helpful clues to the owner’s standpoint on home maintenance.

3. Check for Mold

Mold and water damage can amount to expensive repair bills, and potential health problems, if not addressed. In bathrooms, check for obvious signs of surface mold on bath fixtures, and be attentive to any flex in the bathroom floor or walls that could indicate a water leak out of sight.

If the home has a basement, look for any water stains on unfinished walls or drywall, as well as cracks, bows, or buckles in foundation walls. When all else fails, use your nose to help you find any areas in the home that may be suspect.

4. Look for Pests

While no one wants to consider an infestation of any kind, they do happen, so it’s important to be vigilant about critters that could cause destruction to a home. During the open house check windowsills and exterior entryways for termite wings that have recently been shed or sawdust that could indicate the presence of carpenter ants. And don’t forget the telltale sign of mouse droppings!

5. Sketchy Renovations

Renovated homes can be particularly attractive, but older homes, in particular, can have a host of issues. Notice the location of any walls that have been removed. If it was a load bearing wall, ensuring the renovations were completed correctly will be key to the safety of the structure.

Outdated wiring can be a fire hazard, particularly when a new electrical system has been partially wired into and older existing system. Taking note of whether a home contains cast iron piping or aluminum water supply lines will provide a small sense of any further upgrades that may need to be completed.

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