What You Might Not Know to Look For at an Open House

What You Might Not Know to Look For at an Open House

  • Susan Wisely
  • 04/3/23

Although 99% of home buyers looked for houses online in 2021, actually touring a house in person is the only way to truly get a feel for the property. The best way to tour a home is during an open house. However, if you don’t know what to look for during the tour or the right questions to ask, you may miss out on valuable information.
Because of the importance of touring a house in person, here are a few crucial open house tips for buyers you must know.

Benefits of Touring Open Houses

Going to an open house allows buyers the chance to see the home in person. Since pictures and virtual tours only offer a glimpse into the condition of a property, seeing it in person will fill in the gaps. For example, while attending an open house, you can get an accurate representation of the look, feel, and smell of the home. It can also help you better envision yourself living on the property and how your stuff will fit in the different rooms and storage areas.
Once you have the full picture of a particular property, you can get a better sense of whether you like it or not, as well as how much you should offer if you do wish to move forward with it.

Know What to Look For

Condition of the house

  • Check every nook and cranny of the building, such as testing faucets, light switches, and cabinets.

  • Inspect the condition of the water heater and the air conditioning unit (if applicable).

  • If the house has an attic or basement, look for signs of mold or water damage, as these areas tend to be ground zero for mold spores.

  • Check the state of the property’s outside areas, such as the front and back yards.

Neighbors and neighborhood

  • During the open house, inquire about the types of neighbors around the area. This is especially crucial if you’re looking for an area to raise children.

  • It’s never a bad idea to have a brief talk with the actual neighbors themselves. This will give you a better feel for who you may be living next to in the future.

  • Do some research and tour the neighborhood before or after the open house. Look for nearby businesses and restaurants.

Storage space

  • Although it may not seem like one of the most important open house tips for buyers, paying attention to the house’s storage spaces is crucial if you have a lot of stuff.

  • Open all pantry and cabinet doors to see how deep the storage is. The same goes for all the closets in every room.

  • If the property has a garage, check to see how many cars will fit in it and if the space offers room to store outside items.


  • Privacy is always important when choosing which house to buy. Check the current state of privacy of a particular home during the open house.

  • If the property has big, wide windows, see if it’s possible to make the building more private by adding curtains or shutters.

  • Check how close the neighbors are to the house in areas like the backyard.

  • How close the house is to the actual street can also have a big effect on the overall privacy of the property. The closer it is to the street, the less privacy you may feel.


  • A house with good ventilation will keep the air circulating, which can translate to an easier time heating or cooling down the property. Test the building’s ventilation system by utilizing the heater or AC unit.

  • Fans also play a big role in proper ventilation. Look out for fans installed in any room, and don’t be afraid to test them to make sure they work.

  • Natural ventilation through the use of open windows can help cool the house off in the summer. Experiment by opening windows and getting a feel for the flow of air they offer.

Other buyers

  • If a particular property has a lot of other potential buyers, then there is a good chance the house is worth checking out. This can also be a negative, however, as the increased competition could drive up the cost of the home.

  • Asking about other buyers can also help you get a better timeline for submitting an offer should you like the house.

Know What Questions to Ask

Any damages I should know about?

  • One important open house tip for buyers is to ask the seller and real estate agent about any damages the building may have suffered. Damages can often have a lasting negative effect on a building, even if it was resolved. For instance, a past flood could have created a chance for mold to grow in out-of-sight places.

  • Ask about current and past damages, as well as any potential problems a property may face in the future.

How long has the house been on the market?

  • While this isn’t always the case, how long a house sits on the market could indicate potential problems with it. Inquiring about the length of time it’s been on the market could help you assess the condition of the property.

  • This is also a good way to determine how much interest there is in the property. If the house was recently put on the market and already has numerous potential buyers, then it’s probably worth your time.

Any price fluctuations?

  • Fluctuations in prices could be either a good or bad thing. The longer a house sits on the market, the more likely the price might fluctuate from time to time. Knowing when the last time the price increased or decreased and for how much can go a long way in securing a good deal.

Any offers?

  • Asking about any current offers on the property can give you insight into the number of buyers interested in the house. This even includes past offers that may have fallen through for one reason or another.

  • Additionally, gathering information about offers on a property could help you formulate a better offer to beat out the competition.

Can you tell me about the neighborhood?

  • The neighborhood around a house is just as important as the home itself. Ask about the types of neighbors that live around the property, as well as the type of neighborhood itself. Is the neighborhood more family-oriented, or does it get boisterous on the weekends?

Why is the house being sold?

  • Knowing why the house is being sold can help you determine if the property is worth your time and how much leeway you have when submitting an offer.

Summary of Open House Do’s and Don’ts


  • Inspect every nook and cranny of the house, such as the storage spaces, ventilation, and overall condition of the property.

  • Talk to neighbors to get a better feel for the neighborhood or at least drive around.

  • Ask informative questions concerning any damages the property may have sustained, as well as the amount of time the house has been on the market.


  • Be timid to ask questions, no matter how big or small they may seem.
  • Take things for face value. Instead, look deeper into potential issues or problems.
  • Be afraid to walk away if the house doesn’t seem up-to-par or worth your time.
The Choose Wisely Group has been helping buyers find the house of their dreams for years. Utilizing their knowledge and expertise, the Choose Wisely Group can offer more open house tips for buyers to help ensure you get the full picture of a particular property. If you’re ready to start touring houses, contact them today.

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