To prepare for an open house, a seller is going to pull out all the stops. The place will be pristine – cleaner than it ever has been. The home will be decluttered, depersonalized, and staged. It will probably even smell good – like cookies or popcorn or something else that’s homey.
As a potential buyer, your job is to look beyond the staging and the smell of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. Realtor.com highlights 10 red flags you should look for when you’re visiting an open house, and you can find them using your senses.
Obviously, if a home smells bad, that’s a red flag. But a home that smells too good should raise questions, too. Too many scents could mean the seller is trying to hide something. Look around for signs of pet messes, mildew, smoke, or other odor-causing problems. A musty smell could signal water damage.
If the homeowner fancies him- or herself a DIY type, check their workmanship. Take a close look at the tile work in kitchens and bathrooms, even running your hand over it. Is the tile uneven? Are the gaps between tiles straight? A poor tiling job could mean the work was done hastily and without much care.
Most of the red flags will be found by sight. Are there signs of mold? Routine maintenance that was ignored or put off to the last minute? Is that a great new paint job, or a cosmetic improvement made to cover up a deeper problem?
What else should you look for during in open house (or any home tour, for that matter!)? Check Realtor.com’s complete list.
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