9 Things to Look for During an Open House or Home Tour

Forget how great the photos look. Instead, look for these signs that a house isn’t everything it appears to be.

Nobody wants to buy a house with problems. If you’re on the hunt for a place to call your own, you should do your due diligence by getting a home inspection before signing the paperwork to ensure you’re not investing in costly issues.

However, there are plenty of telltale signs you can look for that can save you the hassle of going through an inspection. In some cases, you may discover problems during an open house or showing that will encourage you to look elsewhere. 

Save yourself some time and money by searching for these eight signs that this house will be anything but home sweet home:

1. Signs of Mold or Water Damage

Visible stains, musty odours, and changes to the floor, ceiling, and walls are often signs of water damage. And if water damage has occurred, you can almost bet that mould will soon follow.

Hopefully, these issues have been taken care of and only the cosmetic damage remains, but a home inspection will help you know for sure.

2. Foundation Issues

Cracks in the foundation, sagging floors, uneven settling, and gaps around the doors can indicate foundation issues. These compromise the entire integrity of the home and can be costly to fix.

3. Gaps in Window Sealing

Windows that aren’t sealed well can result in higher energy bills. You may end up paying more than you bargained for if the problem isn’t resolved.

4. Roof Condition

Roofs typically last upwards of ten years, depending on the roof type. You should ask how old the roof is, then visibly inspect it for weathering or other damage. Replacing a roof is one of the costliest home repairs, costing anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000 or more, so try to delay that expense for as long as possible.

5. Flood Risks

Check to see if the home is located near water or a potential flood zone. If you’re not sure, ask your Realtor to do some research for you. Some insurance companies might not insure you if you’re a flood risk.

6. Leaky Toilets

Listen for running toilets while you’re in the house. If a toilet continues to run long after it should have stopped, you may end up facing higher water bills than you plan for.

7. DIY Repairs

Some repairs are simple enough for homeowners to tackle themselves. But others, such as electrical work, plumbing, and tile work, are best left to professionals. Look for signs of sloppy home fixes that could impact the integrity of the repair.

8. Bad Odours

Foul odours may not be threatening on their own, but the owner’s attempt to mask them might indicate a problem. A home that has water damage, mould, or poor ventilation can be difficult to live in because of the smell. 

9. Signs of Deferred Maintenance

Check the entire perimeter of the home to see how well the homeowners have kept up with routine maintenance and repairs. Homes that have been taken care of tend to have fewer issues and may end up costing you less over time.

For more home buying and selling insights, head back to the Properly blog.