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4 Things to Look For at an Open House

Blog by Gord Honor | March 19th, 2017

Open House Advice

The spring market is here and that means that open house season is upon us. More and more listings are coming on the market and buyers are out shopping for new homes. When touring through a house there are some important things you should look for if you are serious about buying a new home. 


You want to look for a few things in the layout of a home. Starting in the entrance way notice how much space there is, and imagine if you had guests over would there be enough room to great everyone. Next is there a front hall closet close to the door?  It’s one of the most overlooked features of a home. 
How is the general flow of the home? Is it so choppy that you get confused about where you are in relation to the front of the house, or is the concept well thought out?

What are the sizes of the principal rooms; living, dining and kitchen? Determine if there would be enough room for your family both now and in the future.
Think about where you spend most of your time. The room that normally gets the most use is the family room so pay particular attention to this area of the house. How is it laid out and were is the TV?  In some open concept designs there is no good place to put a TV because there are no large walls.

Structual Items

You don’t have to be a pro to notice some major flaws in a home. When in the basement look for obvious signs of water penetration. If there has been a leak you may be able to notice staining on the floors and walls. Check ceilings for signs of repair or water stains. Ask if there has ever been water damage in the home, or if the has been an insurance claim.

If the basement is not finished you may be able to see the foundation. Have a look for signs of cracks, or other damage. Water issues are sometimes evident by a white chalky substance on the concrete known as efflorescenceIf there is a dehumidifier running that should be cause for further investigation.

The same is true for air fresheners. When I see these in a home I always look further to see what they are trying to cover up.

Major Components That Cost Money

furnace The 4 major maintenance items in a home that cost the most money to replace in order of expense are windows, roof, furnace and air conditioner. Ask how old these items are and then get an estimate on how much it would cost to replace them if you where to purchase the home. If you buy a new home that last thing you want is an unexpected expense that could be in the 10’s of thousands of dollars as could be the case with new windows.

Kitchen and Baths

thumb Look for quality in kitchen cabinets and bathroom and vanities. While soft close drawers indicate newer hardware that doesn’t tell entire storey. There are many different levels of quality in the types of hardware and just because the drawers don’t slam shut doesn’t mean that they are the top of the line. Instead of just opening and closing a cabinet spend a bit of time checking out the drawer itself. Look at the construction, is the drawer itself made of solid wood or cheap metal? If its made of wood check the bottom of the drawer to see how thick it is and if its solidly built.  How are the sides assembled? Dovetail joints and thick drawer bottoms are signs of a quality cabinet.

Also look at the finish on the doors, drawers and gables. Custom cabinetry is usually painted in a controlled environment. Less expensive cabinets are made with thermofoil doors. This is process where the doors are covered wth a coloured plastic that has been adhered to cabinetry that won’t last as long, and is difficult to repair.

If there has been a recent renovation to the kitchen or bathroom? Look closely at the tile work to see if its been done by a professional. You can tell a lot by running your hand over the tile. Thin grout lines and tiles that are even and smooth are signs of a professional installation. Notice how the floors transition. If there is an uneven or abrupt transition from one type of floor to another it could be a trip hazard. 

Gord Honor can be reached at gord@gordhonor.com