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One of the most common resolutions that people make is to move into a new home. So, as people begin to set their sights on a new home in the new year, Opendoor senior general manager Candice Bradley offers some tips for what to look for – and what to gloss over – when touring homes while you’re on the hunt.
Many prospective homebuyers tour the house of their dreams, only to discover costly concerns as soon as they close on the house. Real estate company Opendoor buys and sells thousands of homes each year across the country and has worked with 65,000+ customers to help them find or sell a home. Listed below are several top tips from Opendoor about what to look for – and what to gloss over – when touring homes while you’re on the hunt.
- The nose knows.
House hunting requires all your senses. Mold and mildew are two problems that need your sense of smell to detect. Also, cigarette and pet smells might seem trivial, but these odors can cling to walls and ceilings and may not dissipate without considerable time or professional assistance. Depending upon the severity of the issue causing the odor, leaving smells unchecked could be hazardous to your health and could be expensive to resolve.
- Look for cracks.
While all houses have minor cracks due to settling, defects like warped floors, cracks in walls or watermarks could be a sign of a bigger issue. Wide cracks or those running horizontally or diagonally on a wall could signify serious foundational issues or even water damage. A warped floor could be a red flag for several problems, from rotting wood and water damage to termites or low-quality construction.
- Pay attention to wiring and systems details.
While visiting a house for sale, be on the lookout for signs of issues with electrical wiring and cooling/heating elements. Exposed or eroded wires, HVAC systems lacking proper ventilation and leaky water heaters can not only be expensive to fix but also present major safety hazards. If you are looking at homes in an area with natural gas, use your sense of smell again in rooms other than the kitchen for a rotten egg smell, signifying that the water heater may have a compromised gas valve.
- Be on the lookout for potentially unpermitted additions.
Purchasing a house that has had unpermitted work done over the years could require you to pay fines as well as any costs associated with getting the work permitted, or – in extreme instances – even to take the work down completely. While home additions may not always be easy to spot, be on the lookout for converted garages, rooms with lower roof lines from outside the house or freestanding units (guest houses).
- Know what’s easy to change.
It’s also important to have a healthy perspective about those non-priority cosmetic items that really shouldn’t be deal-breakers, such as the current owner’s furniture and décor, floor treatments, small appliances, fixtures, and even the layout of a kitchen or bathroom. These can be relatively minor items that you may not be in love with, but aren’t permanent and can be replaced and upgraded so you can add your own personal style in time after moving in.
Interested in touring one of the dozens of Opendoor homes in the area? Simply download the Opendoor app and start hunting! Looking to buy a home locally? Homebuyers can work with their own trusted agent or with an Opendoor Partner Agent to make an informed decision when buying a home.