Are you about to embark on your first home buying experience? One thing you're going to have to get used to quickly is the process of going to open homes. Open homes are often immaculately staged and ready to sell, but there can still be some issues lurking just below the surface of that glossy veneer. Here are a few of the biggest red signs you should be looking for.
Overly Perfumed Atmosphere
Are there cookies baking in the oven, air fresheners plugged into the outlets and candles burning in the hall? If the air seems overly laden with scent, it's very likely that the seller is trying to hide the smell of something else. Sometimes this can just be the lingering smell of pets or smoking. Other times it can be something more serious, such as mold. Either way, you should be a little cautious.
Rugs, Rugs, Rugs Galore
Buyers should always follow a simple rule: if you see a rug, look under it. If there are rugs all over the property, it's likely that the seller isn't just "tying the room together"—they're trying to distract from damaged flooring. Rugs are a favorite of home staging professionals, so there are times when it's used to enhance the decor, but the only way you can know for sure is to check. Don't be shy!
"Burned Out" Lights
A light is very easy to fix. So if a light is "burned out" in a room, it doesn't really make any sense. What makes more sense? That there may be electrical problems in that room. Any time something electrical doesn't work, even something as small as an incandescent light fixture, you should be a little concerned; it may indicate more serious electrical issues that you'll need to contend with later on.
Finally, one of the major things that you should remember at an open house is to ask to use the bathroom. When you do use the bathroom, make sure that you test the toilet and both the hot and cold water in both the sink and the tub. Any plumbing issues at all, such as low water pressure or lukewarm hot water, could indicate significant problems.
Your real estate agent should be able to help you identify any other red flags you encounter—but don't forget that a red flag doesn't mean that you can't purchase a certain home. In fact, it actually gives you more negotiating power. If you run into a home that seems perfect for you barring a few of the above issues, you may be able to negotiate the price downwards on that basis alone. Work with a home buying professional to make your experience as smooth as possible, such as one from Chris Calhoon Real Estate.