First Time Buyers Guide to Open Houses

Tuesday Aug 01st, 2023


Open houses and private showings are a great way to see a home up close and personal. It’s not all fun and games though. You want to make sure you make the most out of your visit.

Make a list
Have the listing address with the date and time on it. If you’re looking at multiple properties it can be easy to confuse one location with another.

Note things that stood out, good or bad. Lots of cupboard space, unpleasant smell in the basement…

Have a list of things you consider ‘must-haves’ and check them off as you go.

Look up
Check out the ceilings, especially in older homes. Look for signs of water damage and cracks and make sure to follow up with your realtor.

Storage Space
Note how many cupboards are in the kitchen & bathrooms, linen closets, pantries, built-ins…

Windows: Ask the listing agent the age of the windows and about the window coverings.

The Neighbours
It’s a good idea to walk and/or drive around at different times to get a sense of the neighbourhood. If you are looking at a semi-detached home, townhouse or condo or a property where you have a shared drive you want to keep your ears and eyes open, inside and outside.

Step outside
Check the condition of the outside of the home, any decks or porches… If privacy is important to you, note trees on your own property and your immediate neighbours.

A private showing is an opportunity to go through the home and inspect it even more thoroughly. It gives you a chance to spend more time checking every last detail and ask more specific questions when the listing agent is only focused on you.

Private viewing vs Open House
Appliances: At a private showing you should make sure that all the appliances are in working order by turning them on...
Rugs: Lift them up to make sure they aren’t water damage, scratches…
Windows: in an older home make sure they aren’t painted shut and consider their energy efficiency
Sinks: check under sinks for water damage or mold issues.

Buying a home is a huge decision and you want to make sure you’re making an informed decision. An experienced real estate agent can also help you, making sure you ask the right questions.


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