4 Signs You Must Look for During an Open House
A realtor hosts an open house for one reason: as a marketing tool to entice buyers. Showing the house increases sales potential, not just to intentional buyers, but also to inquisitive neighbors, Looky-Loos and stragglers who have more time than interest on their hands. Still, realtors know that even stragglers and Looky-Loos have a sphere of influence and may mention the beautifully staged house to someone who turns out to be a serious buyer; perhaps someone like you.
Don’t be distracted by how well the house is staged.
Most realtors and homeowners do a superb job of drawing a buyer’s attention to the very positive aspects of the house they’re trying to sell and to the reasons why you can’t live without it. Buyers, however, should focus on the concrete issues (not the foundation, necessarily, though that’s not a bad idea) that will ultimately influence their purchase. Make a mental checklist and keep your eyes open for the following signs, which may provide you with a bargaining chip.
Signs of a defective water heater may be difficult to spot during an open house but an attentive eye might spy a problem. In many cases, a water heater isn’t out in the open and is somewhat camouflaged, often located in a bedroom, bathroom or laundry room closet. At any rate, if the water heater isn’t visible, ask to see it. Notice if there are rust stains near the base of the heater. A rusty residue may be a sign of a present or past leak. A leak could also leave signs of mold and mildew, or water droplets may be present along the pipes that are attached to the heater.
If you have the opportunity, turn on a hot water faucet. If it takes a while to get hot or stays lukewarm, the water heater may be on its way out and would need a replacement or repair. Don’t forget to ask the age of the water heater. A well-maintained unit should last between 8 and 12 years.
The moment you walk through the doors of an open house, notice the temperature. On a hot day, even a defective air conditioner may put out enough cool air to fool you; take notice of how it feels following a few minutes inside. Is it cooling sufficiently? Also, is the air conditioner handler noisy or loud? A new air conditioner will blow out cold air and will run quietly.
The age of the air conditioner is important to home buyers. Ask about the age and maintenance history of the unit and if it’s still under warranty. Homeowners who schedule regular maintenance checks help to extend the life of their air conditioners, increasing the unit’s efficiency.
As you walk through the house take a hard glance at AC vents. The ducts may need cleaning if dust has accumulated on the outside of the vent. It is also a sign that the air quality in the home may be compromised or that the unit needs servicing.
How the Home Smells
Sellers and realtors have been known to bake a batch of cookies prior to showing a home, to create a pleasing fragrance and atmosphere. Take a walk through the garage. Notice if there are any musty odors, which may accompany mold. Black mold is hazardous. Ask the realtor if the previous owners had a mold problem and if it was sufficiently eradicated.
Opening cabinet doors below a sink can be informative to homebuyers. One of the worst and perhaps most common issues of concern are related to leaks. Warped cabinet doors or stains below the pipes and under the sinks may be a sign of a leaky pipe. The cabinet floor may also buckle or mildew may gather along the cabinet walls. Like other home maintenance, gone unattended, a plumbing problem will create extensive damage and cause additional problems to arise.
Homeowners who take advantage of a NextEra home warranty can feel safe when hosting an open house. Home warranties help cover the repair and replacement of major household appliances that fail due to wear and tear. Learn more by calling (833) 634-6634.