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Buyer's Guide: 6 Things to Look For at Your Next Open House

House hunting can be a lot of fun, especially when you’re on the front end of the process (buyer fatigue is very real). There are a lot of checkpoints to getting ready to purchase (and we’ll get into those in another blog), but after you’ve determined your budget, gotten pre-qualified, and chosen the right agent (*raises hand*), it’s time to check out some potential future properties. 

Open houses are a brand of voyeurism we can all get on board with.

It’s important that you see yourself in the home, but it’s also imperative that you look beyond aesthetics. It’s easy to get distracted by the cute addition at the back of the house, but was it actually well built? It’s possible that if you’re too busy admiring the finely executed historic renovation, you’ll overlook whether those tiny closets will work for your storage needs. Open houses offer a perfect opportunity to really get in there…look beyond the cosmetic details and do your due diligence.

Take a few notes and draw comparisons to other homes you see. As you look through each space, keep the following things in mind:

  1. Floors/Ceiling/Walls: These are big features in a home, but still easy enough to be distracted by the paint choices, furniture, or updated components of a particularly beautiful home. Don’t forget to check the big stuff for evidence of water damage, cracking, foundation issues, or the sort of deterioration that goes beyond “normal wear and tear.”

  2. Windows/Lighting: Are you searching for a home that’s overflowing with natural light, or are you a “blinds pulled” kinda homeowner? Don’t forget to check that the home gets enough daytime sunlight, or whether the windows have the sort of views you’re looking for (say, trees and mountains vs. the neighbor’s garbage can). Ask about when the windows were installed and check for any gaps or airflow issues.

  3. Storage Space: This includes bedroom and hallway closets, of course….be certain they’re ample enough to handle your needs, from clothing and blankets to cleaning supplies, and outdoor gear. But don’t forget to check cabinetry in the bathrooms and kitchen. Check for the space you need, as well as for any water stains or mold, as this could point to unseen plumbing problems.

  4. Exterior Issues: Buying a home is a huge expense, and making repairs will feel like an incredible burden. A formal inspection is always advised, but you may as well check the condition of the current roof, look for damage to the exterior walls, or eyeball landscaping problems that could be a big expense in the future while you're here, right?

  5. Noise Levels: Pay attention to what you hear from inside the home. This is an easy one to overlook, particularly at a busy open house. Listen for outside noises from the bedrooms or any office space. Can you hear the neighbors or traffic from a busy street? 

  6. Room Sizes: Paint and furniture placement can both affect how you perceive the size of a room. Don’t forget to keep your needs top-of-mind. Do you have oversized furniture or require a specific orientation? How much of each space is actually usable?

Once you’ve narrowed down the properties you love, you can get into the nitty gritty of things like actual measurements, insulation, evidence of pests in attics/basements, condition of appliances, electrical outlets, and other potential issues that require a closer look than an open house affords. And don’t forget to ask questions! A simple Google search will give you a good idea of what you should be curious about, and you’ll get some answers on things you can’t see at a glance.

Wondering if we can help with your search for a home in Salt Lake or it surrounding areas? Just reach out! We're happy to find the right agent for you.


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