Questions to Ask at Open Houses
Updated: Mar 19, 2020
You want to get a feel for maintenance. The roof, the foundation and the systems are an integral part of the home. If these have been replaced, or maintained it is essential knowledge, ask when they have been done. They all have associated costs to replace them and it will give you a general idea about when you may have to do this. If this is something that needs doing right away and your budget doesn’t allow for it, you want to know before considering an offer. If you have renovations in mind prior to buying, they may be negotiation points.
Water and Water Damage
Look at the source of water; are you looking at a property that has a well? This is something that you will need to do testing on for drinking quality. Asking how deep is the well, what kind of well is it: Drilled, sand-point, or dug; how old is it, (check for water pressure (run the tap) ) will give you an idea of what’s in store for maintenance or replacement as well as usage. Does it have the capacity to serve the number of people in your home.
Water damage signs can include water marks on the floor, walls or ceiling. Or maybe there is mold. Black mold is one of the most toxic and has related health concerns. As you go through the house look for indications. Basement walls show efflorescence or calcium deposits. Both conditions occur when evaporating water pushes minerals in the material toward the surface. Calcium forms right below a materials surface and water will not affect its appearance. Efflorescence looks white and chalky and sits on the surface of a material. This will darken when splashed with water. Always, ask if there were any known issues and what was done to correct it.
Windows and Doors
How old are the windows? In older homes windows can get painted shut, or are not air tight. Doors can have gaps between the floor and the bottom of the door. You can feel sometimes with your hands if there is a draft coming through. This will contribute to heating and air conditioning costs. Also, these issues may be evident in new homes, depending on the builder. Not all new home builders have the same set of standards.
Overall, the Realtor that you are working with can help you ascertain the answers to all of these questions (and more) and often a good home inspection reveals issues (if any) you may not have thought about. It is just good common sense to look around, make notes, and address what you find.