Six things to look for dur­ing an open house

The Hamilton Spectator - - REAL ESTATE -

If you're on the hunt for a new home, that may in­volve vis­it­ing one, two, or half a dozen open houses. Some choose to visit open houses even if they are not ready to buy just so they have an idea of what the mar­ket has to of­fer when the time to pur­chase does come along. What­ever your rea­son for fre­quent­ing open houses, it's im­por­tant that you are look­ing for and notic­ing the right things so that you can make an in­formed de­ci­sion.

If you are work­ing with a realtor they will likely draw your at­ten­tion to th­ese items, but for those who are nav­i­gat­ing the res­i­den­tial real es­tate wa­ters on their own, here are six things you should pay close at­ten­tion to dur­ing an open house:

1. The neigh­bours and neigh­bour­hood –

When you buy a house, you also are buy­ing into its neigh­bour­hood and the peo­ple in it, so take the time to walk down the street. Look at how well homes are cared for, how much traf­fic goes by, tran­sit op­tions if that's im­por­tant to you and de­mo­graph­ics. If you have lit­tle kids, it's nice to be on a street with other chil­dren.

2.The ex­te­rior –

Be­fore or af­ter tour­ing the in­side, feel free to walk around the perime­ter of the home, check­ing the foun­da­tion, eave­stroughs, con­di­tion of walk­ways, decks and pa­tios, paint on win­dow sills and/or sid­ing, etc.

3. The walls –

In­side, keep a close eye on the walls. Nail holes and paint in need of an up­date are not an is­sue; you want to look for any signs of ma­jor crack­ing. This could be an in­di­ca­tion of struc­tural prob­lems.

4. Smells –

Be­lieve it or not, nasty odours rank as one of the top fac­tors in de­ter­ring a home sale. Strong smells from pets, to­bacco and food scents can be a ma­jor turn off and might not be as easy to erad­i­cate as you think. In some sit­u­a­tions, it may be nec­es­sary to re­move car­pet and win­dow cov­er­ings and paint walls to get rid of strong smells. Learn to rec­og­nize the smell of mould, a likely symp­tom of ex­pen­sive wa­ter dam­age.

5. The big ticket items –

Ask the list­ing sales­per­son about the age of the roof, fur­nace, plumb­ing, elec­tri­cal and win­dows if not in­cluded in the fea­ture sheet. Th­ese are all costly up­grades that some buy­ers might not want to be bur­dened with.

6. Over­all clean­li­ness –

Take a peek along base­boards, in clos­ets, be­hind toi­lets and in win­dow tracks for dirt. A home that is clean is likely a home that has been well cared for! (NC)

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