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Looking for that perfect Des Moines home can be a fun and exciting time for a new homebuyer, and open houses are a great way to take a small tour to see if a home is right for you. Be aware though that there’s more to look for in an open house than simply picturing where to place your furniture. An open house is a great opportunity to “size up” a home and determine if it truly is one that is in the running. Here are a few things to look for during an open house.
Check the Foundation
Assuring the foundation of a home is in good condition is very important, as foundation repairs can be get pricey quick. You may see small cracks surrounding areas of the foundation on the exterior of the home which may simply be an indication of the house settling into position. What you’re really looking for are large cracks on the exterior as well as the interior of the home. Additionally, test the doors to see if they close easily – if they rub on the floor or the door jam, there could be a foundation issue. Lastly, walk the home and see if the floors feel level, or even try the classic test of rolling a ball across the floor to see if it rolls in one certain direction where the floor may be a bit lower. If you have any concerns, feel free to ask the listing agent if there are any foundation issues that they’re aware of.
The Smell Test
Oftentimes, the agent showing the property will offer up baked goods during their showings – after all, nothing says home like the smell of chocolate chip cookies. With that said, there may be underlying smells in the home that can prove to be issues that may cost you in the long run. Check bathrooms and basements for any scent of mold: black mold can be hazardous and can eventually lead to lengthy and expensive repairs. Open the cabinets and storage areas and check for smells of pests. If there is a rodent infestation, you’ll be sure to detect it. If the home is layered with smells of baked goods, potpourri, and candles, they may be trying to cover up an issue.
Many sellers will give their home a paint job prior to putting it on the market, which may make it difficult to spot water stains on the walls and ceilings. If the home hasn’t been freshly painted, check the walls and ceilings for any water stains as they may indicate internal damage from a burst pipe. Check the areas around sinks and bathtubs for any mold in the caulking. The basement may have exposed pipes and if so, you want to look for any rusting, water stains, or leaks in those pipes, as well as any evidence of water damage to the floors or baseboards.
Storage is a big seller in a home, but oftentimes it isn’t part of the consideration process simply because a potential buyer didn’t think about it. When touring a home, open the closets and pantries and see the amount of space you’ll have. Older homes tend to have very small closets so unless an upgrade has been done, it may leave you needing a wardrobe. Check the cabinet and counter space in the bathrooms and kitchen to determine if it will meet your needs. The last thing you want to deal with after moving into your dream home is clutter, so make sure the home has enough space.
When going to an open house, make note of the neighborhood and the amenities it offers. Are there restaurants nearby? How is the school district? How far is the commute from work? Make sure that this is a neighborhood you would like to live in and that it meets the needs of your lifestyle. You can change the footprint of your home, but you can’t change your location.
It’s easy to go into an open house starry eyed, picturing yourself living there within minutes. However, it’s important to go in with your eyes wide open to determine if this house will meet your needs. There’s a perfect home out there for everyone – you just don’t want to end up with a money pit. What do you look for in an open house?