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Going to open houses is part of the home search for some buyers. While many like to wander into homes and just take a peek, there is some intentionality behind deciding which homes are the best to look at and how to know what to look for on those tours to get the most information out of them. Having a strategy that helps determine whether a home is a good fit is a good start. Let's get started on what other ways home buyers can inform their searches with the right tools.


The way a person designs a house with their personal touch can make the difference between an enjoyable experience and one that feels like you walked into a museum. Although sellers are told to make the house look 'like nobody lives there' so a potential buyer will see themselves in the space, sometimes it is a bit too stoic and not enough effort was put into thinking how it might come across to buyers. Personal touch aside, whether a home is designed with mid-century modern furniture or floral patterns should not be the biggest concern about a home's potential. Don't focus here too much, as there are other, bigger, structural things to be concerned about since the furniture will not be staying and walls can always be painted. 


Lighting schemes and features are smaller elements that can make a home look elegant and nice. Smaller appliances that are present (or absent) can tell a lot about a home owner's upkeep around the house. These cosmetic features are not going to break the bank when it comes to redecorating. They do not impact overall safety but do provide space to put a personal touch into the home. With this in mind, fix your eyes on the bigger pieces of this puzzle when it comes to appliances, whether they function properly, and any safety hazards to be mindful of that may seem invisible at first. 

Suspicious Smells

Homebuyers need to open all five senses walking into a property. If you are hit with a musty odor coming in the door, that might repel you to leave right away. Your nose can actually uncover issues that may linger in the home. Mold and mildew are two problems that can be detected by smell. This may be hazardous to your health and resolving it may be hazardous to the pocketbook, eventually. 

Some Other Considerations

Looking around a home, there are some things to watch for that are helpful when finalizing a decision during an open house tour:

  • What condition the walls and floors are in. Look for cracks, warping, watermarks, and other signs the foundation or walls have issues that go deeper than surface-level
  • Systems that include wiring, HVAC, and water heaters or furnaces should be evaluated. Leaking issues, old hardware, and lots of nonfunctioning appliances may be a sign of issues that will need to be addressed before going forward with the home purchase
  • Permit issues: any buildings on the property or additions and remodels done without permits can cause a surprise after a home sale. Unpermitted construction can be a safety concern if not done properly, as well as fines that may come with it to bring the work to code later (falling on the current owner if not listed ahead of time).

These are just starting points to the conversation when walking through during an open house. The in-depth details can get worked out later, but things that stand out immediately as a potential hazard can spell disaster down the line. It is best to try and get out while you can and save yourself the aggravation if it seems the home is not kept up properly. For mostly cosmetic things, that can be dealt with later to add personal touches and maybe a sign you could put some money down on the property and try to make it your own.


Looking for that perfect home is sure to be met with lots of questions and searching. At Choice Properties, we make the home buying process easier and more streamlined. With so many options available, we strive to give you the best service when it comes to helping you find the home of your dreams. Give us a call if you are ready to start the process of buying your next home. 

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