8 Things to Look For at the Open House

It’s a great time of year to get a jump on the home buying competition by checking out open houses in DC Maryland and Virginia. Before getting in the car to run to the nearest “Open Sunday” sign, take note of these tips.

The first tip is to do your research with your Realtor or online to find the properties in the neighborhoods that interest you. There are great mobile apps that can guide your search as well. Realtor.com, Trulia and other big sites have great mobile apps which let you search for open houses by list or map and save your favorites for later viewing.

At the Open House:

1. First Impressions

Take note of the area and surrounding houses. Is the landscaping kept up? Does the property have the neighborhood amenities and parking or nearby transit you require? Do the neighbors seem friendly? Is there enough privacy?

2. Inside Condition

Check for mold odors or signs of humidity. Is the condition of the house up to your standards? Try to look beyond surface issues such as dated furniture or paint color. If the house has good bones you can easily fix these things.

Is the house well ventilated and insulated? Ask about the monthly heating and air conditioning bills. Check the water pressure, too.

3. Outside Condition

Walk around the property and check to see if the brick and mortar or siding is in good condition. Check to see if the gutters and roof show any signs of decay. Check the condition of porches and backyards. Does the outdoor living space suit your needs?

4. Renovations

Examine the need for renovations, add up your wish list and estimate if you could afford renovations and the purchase financing. Is there room for potential expansion or renovation?

Work with your Realtor to plan a renovation budget if necessary. If the house is newly renovated and staged, examine the quality of work and consider whether the house suits your needs.

5. Size of the House and Property

Note the size and number of rooms, bathrooms and outside space. Will this house suit your needs for family and visitors? Plan out your ideal flow and function before house hunting, and then evaluate the house against your criteria. Are the closets big enough? Do you need a home office or den? Are there enough bathrooms?

6. What’s Included?

Check to see the condition of the appliances, fixtures and window treatments. Ask what’s included, sometimes certain items are excluded from the sale. Check for electrical outlets: many older houses have less electrical outlets than modern households demand.

7. Home Inspection

If you find a home that suits your needs, write up an offer contingent on a home inspection and hire a reputable inspector. Review the report and note any fixes or problem areas.  If the concerns are fixes you or the seller can address, buy. If it will be too costly, keep on searching.

8. Schedule Private Showing

Schedule a private showing with your Realtor. You will have more time to walk through and they will be a knowledgable resource to help match your needs with properties in your price range.

When you’re ready to start looking for a new home or condominium, call Central Properties to find a Real Estate Agent that will listen to your needs and work to guide you through the process!