What Buyers Should Look for at an Open House

7 Warning Signs Buyers Shouldn’t Overlook at Open Houses

When buying a home you attend many different open houses and it can be easy to get them mixed up in your head when you’re thinking in terms of what you liked and what you didn’t. One way to keep them straight is to think of them in terms of potential updates that will be needed. There isn’t a home that’s absolutely perfect and without flaws and all will more than likely need some type of update or repair. We’ve put together a list of repairs and updates that you need to watch out for as they could pose a larger problem that you don’t want to face.

How old is the Roof?

The inside of a home is certainly important but you also need to take a look at the outside of the home, this includes the roof. How old is it? Are there shingles missing or falling apart? When was it put on? A roof can last 15-20 years and can be expensive to replace, sometimes costing $10,000 or more. It’s important to take note of the overall condition and age to know how soon the roof may need to be replaced.

Does the Foundation Have Issues?

Since you’re already outside of the home looking around, take note of the foundation. How much of it can you see? Are there large cracks and gaps? Since the weight of the entire home sits on the foundation this can be an expensive fix that might not be worth the headache. You need to be very critical because repairs to the foundation can be a nightmare.

What condition are the Pipes in?

Once you own the home you’ll be responsible for any and all repair costs that may arise, this includes the sewer and/or septic systems. You should factor in an inspection to look at the pipes when you are figuring out your budget. Ask about the age and state of the overall system that runs through the home to look for any potential issues in the future.

Have there been any Insurance Claims?

Find out if there have been any insurance claims that have ever been filed on the home and why. This will give you an idea of the issues that have come up in the past and an idea of what issues may arise in the future. Ask the homeowner if flood insurance of any kind is required or if any other specific insurance needs to be placed on the home. They will be able to give you the best idea of what will be needed and help you to see the potential financing and closing costs that may be coming your way.

Look for Water Damage and Aging Wiring

For our Northern friends, check the basement? Look around, are things sitting up off the floor? Is there a musty smell? Look for clear signs of previous water issues and damage. If things are off the floor and things smell musty this could mean there have been recurring water issues that have happened in the past. This type of repair can  also be costly and take a great deal of work to fix.

Also take a look at the wiring around the home to see if any of it appears to be outdated. Are there outlets with only two holes instead of three? Do fuse boxes use knobs instead of switches? Do any of the lights flicker? All of these can be telltale signs that the wiring is outdated and will need to be replaced. Older systems can pose safety risks, cause insurance issues and be difficult to insulate. You should consult with an electrician to verify that all of the electrical and wiring in the home is safe for use and get an idea of what may need to be replaced as well as how much it may cost.

Are the Windows New?

While you’re touring the home look at the windows, try to open a few if you can. Are any of them painted shut? Are they drafty? Do they seem difficult to open? Older windows could cost you quite a bit of money to replace, especially if they are specifically shaped. Experts suggest that you factor the cost of replacing windows into your budget just in case, because chances are you will have to replace at least one.

The last thing you want is to purchase a home that turns into a money pit. You should take the time to learn about the different issues that you may run into and look for signs of them when you are attending open houses. No home is perfect, repairs and issues will arise, but that doesn’t mean you have to purchase a home plagued with issues that need to be fixed as soon as you sign the paperwork.