You’re going to an open house for this great house you saw online. Of course the pictures online were flawless and you fell in love with the house. You also know that the Realtor will have the home looking in tip top shape. So what kinds of things should you also look at or do at a real estate open house.
First, don’t go directly to the house
Check out all the information you can find on the house and neighborhood. Local land records can tell you about who the neighbors are. Crime stats can tell you about it’s safety. The state school board can tell you about the local schools. Even assuming you did your homework and the neighborhood “checks out” you want to drive through or even walk around.
Take the time to really go through the neighborhood and see how it feels to you. Remember, the home is on it’s “best behavior” but the neighborhood is just being itself. If you don’t get the right vibe, move on. If you do, keep heading to the home.
During the drive around, eye up the local schools
During your homework phase you found out about the stats, now go see what they look like. Neat and tidy, with safe playground equipment or not well taken care of? Numbers can be misleading, or not, but how a community cares for its schools can scream volumes about the community. It can tell you whether you want your children to attend it or not.
Lastly, concentrate on the house
Not specifically how it looks, but on the changes made to it, and what will need to be changed. If there were changes, were they “legal” as in were the proper permits pulled and inspections done? If the need to be done, how extensive are they?
Don’t just fall for the picture the open house presents, do your own homework and make sure it’s really the home for you.