Thursday, May 26, 2022 / by Margie Wright
More than likely, you'll be touring several homes in one day. Make sure to take notes and photos to be able to remember your thoughts and details about each home. Open and close doors, flip light switches, and don't forget to look at the exterior of the home. Minor cosmetic details, like paint colors or hardware finishes, are nothing to fret about too much. Those are things that you can change. However, there are red flags to look out for. Your agent, though, should be able to point out any potential problems and answer any of your questions during the tour.
So what should you look for when touring? Here's a list:
- Number, location, and size of bedrooms and bathrooms
- Closet and storage spaces
- Number of floors (and if it's split foyer, multiple stories, etc.)
- Sightlines throughout the home
- General floorplan
- Age and condition of appliances
- Light switches and sockets in each room
- Plumbing and water pressure
- Amount of natural light and views (if applicable)
- Noise levels inside and outside the home
- Width, types, and condition of stairs and stairways
- Porches and decks
- Garage/parking capacity
- Proximity to neighboring homes
- Condition of roof and gutters
- Cracks in foundation and driveway
- Trees near the home (could they cause damage to the home)
- Signs of water damage
- Wall and floor condition (uneven flooring, chips, mismatched flooring)
- Age of the electrical box
- Home the home is heated and cooled
- Possible pest infestation
- Other visible damage
A good rule of thumb is to use your five senses when touring homes:
- Sight: Are there signs of water damage? Is there mold? What does it look like under the sinks? How close are homes next door? Can you see inside your neighbor's home? Is there natural lighting from the windows or is it dark? Is anything being covered by curtains, rugs, etc.?
- Hearing: What's the noise level like in the neighborhood? Can you hear nearby traffic or railways? Can you hear the HVAC system from inside? Do the floors squeak?
- Smell: Can you smell any orders from the carpet? Do the bathrooms smell of mildew? Does it smell like fresh paint? Do the rooms smell like artificial fragrances more than what would be normal?
- Touch: What's the water pressure and temperature like? Do any of the walls feel damp (especially in the bathroom)? Do the floors feel level? Is the tile slippery? If there are heated floors, are they actually heated?
- Taste: What does the tap water taste like?
Many of these senses lead into the red flags to look for while touring:
- Overly Scented Rooms: Overpowering fragrances could indicate that their as an odor the seller is trying to mask. Investigate further to see if it's just the choice of fragrance or if there's signs of pet odor, mildew, etc.
- Water Stains and Damage: Water stains could be a sign that there's underlying water damage to the home. That can lead to costly repairs later on. Make note of this and point it out during the inspection if you decide to submit an offer.
- Lack of Maintenance: Burnt out lightbulbs, fading paint, and leaking faucets should all be looked out for. If the previous homeowner didn't upkeep these smaller items, there's a solid possibility that there are larger issues.
- Foundation Issues: Doors and windows being difficult to open and noticeable cracks around doorways and windows could be indicators that there are underlying problems with the foundation.
- Sagging Ceiling: This could be an indicator of a larger structural problem or water damage.
- Fresh Paint: It's not unusual for a seller to freshen up a home with paint before selling. It's a good idea when selling so the home appeals to more buyers. However, if the paint feels out of place, trust your guy. An issue could be hiding under that paint.