One of the fun parts of shopping for a home is attending open houses and visiting homes for sale. But it’s easy to get distracted as you make your tour -- by the seller’s furniture, the quirky decorating or the talkative real estate agent.
At most open houses, you will receive a handout that lists all of the basics, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, whether the home has central air conditioning, the lot size, and the like. This should save you from having to write down this kind of detail. Instead, focus on the quality of what you see by checking which of the following items apply:
Are rooms sufficiently large?
Closet space is ample
Check that faucets show no signs of leaks
Fixtures have no stains
No sign of mold or mildew on the tiles or caulking
Fan and/or window in every bathroom
An eating area or breakfast nook
Ample countertop and cupboard space
Other flooring: ________
Check if the walls are painted plaster or drywall, wood panelling, or wallpapered
Are the walls reasonably soundproof
No signs of water damage
Baseboards, door frames and crown moldings are good quality
Gas or wood-burning fireplace in working order
Stairs don’t creak
Hardwood under the carpeting
Enough head room
Walls and floors are finished
Sump pump (may indicate flooding problems)
Garage and driveway
Is there garage access from inside house?
Does the garage door opener work?
Garage is large enough to accommodate your vehicle
Concrete flooring isn’t cracked
No cracks or sunken spots in the driveway
Is the roof covered with, shingles, shakes, or other
Flashing, soffits and fascia are in good condition
The roof is: _____years old
Note the type of exterior siding, common exteriors are: brick, brick veneer, vinyl, aluminum, wood
No visible cracks in the mortar
Doors and windows
Open and close freely
There is an alarm system
All locks and latches work
Do the windows appear well-insulated?
Check for water stains or signs of condensation
Caulking around windows is not cracked
Walkways, patio, deck
Patio stones are stable
Wood on the deck is in good repair
Patio or deck receives full sun
Is privacy adequate for your needs?
Eaves and downspouts
All eaves and downspouts are in good repair
Water is being directed away from foundation
Is the ground is sloped away from house?
Concrete has no visible cracks
Garden and landscaping
Yard is suitable for children and/or pets
Is the lawn and garden well-maintained?
Check the condition of fences
Is there a swimming pool
Heating and cooling
Check if the home is heated by: gas, oil, hot water, electricity
Is it well insulated with safe materials
Furnace or heating system is: ____ years old
Air conditioning system is: ____ years old
Plumbing and water service
Does the house use: municipal water or well water
Does the water need to be filtered or otherwise treated
Adequate water pressure
Is there a septic system or public sewage
Is the hot-water heater owned or rented?
Wiring is up-to-date
Wired for: ____ amps