How to Spot Red Flags When Viewing a Property During an Open House

real estate viewing

An open house is a great way to learn more about the property you’re eyeing. Everything you see inside the house is a deciding factor for purchasing.

However, most homebuyers simply look at the cosmetic aspects of the property. Is the paint fresh? Do the kitchen cabinets have a splendid color? Is the countertop made of stain and scorch-resistant material?

These elements are worthy of your attention but bear in mind that other seemingly small problems hide a big issue. So before you decide on a home and call a mortgage loan officer, here are some red flags that should deter you from buying that property.

Too Much Scent

Don’t let that lovely lavender scent from the purple candles fool you. One lighted, scented candle is enough to make a property smell heavenly. But if the house has an aggressive scent from several candles and plug-in air fresheners, something is amiss.

There’s a good chance that the seller is taking precautions to mask an unpleasant odor, like mold, pet urine, or cigarette smoke. The overpowering lavender smell can lure buyers into thinking that nothing’s wrong with the property.

So, instead of simply enjoying the lavender scent, be more inquisitive and take a deep whiff in every room you enter. This includes the bedrooms and basement—places unlikely to have scented candles. Take a deep whiff on the property grounds, too. And to confirm any suspicions, check the walls, ceilings, and flooring closely for signs of mold, mildew, and smoke. ;

Signs of Home Neglect

homeAn attentive homeowner would be on top of their home maintenance, including changing air filters, cleaning the chimney, preventing roof leaks, and keeping everything in working order. Doing so prevents costly repairs and issues down the road.

If the property shows signs of deferred maintenance, then it shows that the previous homeowners might not have kept the house in good condition. Signs include burned-out light bulbs, leaking faucets, and faded or patchy paint.

While these seem like small, easy-to-fix issues, they may be signs of a much bigger problem: the previous owners may have also ignored other regular maintenance jobs for more important aspects such as foundation damage and electrical installations.

Take an imposing tree in the yard, for instance. If no effort has been made to prune the tree, at least, the branches could fall and cause damage or injury. Plus, the roots can cause foundation issues and ruin the water system. Once the property passes to you, it would fall upon your pocket to fix years of neglect.

Poorly Installed Windows

Sellers tend to spend a lot on fresh, new curtains, but even if these treatments look glorious cascading from ceiling to floor, pull them back to check the windows. Windows are one of the most overlooked parts of an open house because buyers get carried away by the pretty curtains.

Tug the windows to check if they move smoothly. If they’re stuck or difficult to open, it could be a sign that they’re poorly installed. And fixing them (or having new ones installed) will be your expense once you sign the property.

House staging uses different techniques to pull the buyers’ attention to one thing and away from another. So it’s important to be aware and attentive and scrutinize even the smallest things when inspecting the biggest purchase of your life.

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