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

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

  • Maggie Keats
  • 07/30/23

An open house tour is one of the most exciting moments in anyone’s real estate journey. In fact, over 53% of all home buyers in the U.S. attend an open house event of some kind before buying their next property. If you’re interested in buying a home, you’ll likely encounter several open houses before you finally decide on a location that meets your expectations. But before you get to that point, you need to know what to look for during the open house itself.

Of course, your real estate agent will be at your side during the open house, helping to collect as much information as possible. Yet the potential buyer has a few responsibilities that might not seem obvious at first. Let’s take a look at some critical open house tips for buyers, below.

Benefits of touring open houses

Opening up our guide to open houses, we’d like to share some of the most important advantages that come with touring homes in person or remotely. A few key benefits of touring open houses include:
  • In person open houses give buyers a more visceral feel for the layout and open space at a property.
  • 360 degree virtual home tours are a valid second option to take if you’re not able to tour in person since they allow you to immerse yourself in the interior of the home.
  • You can better judge the condition of a home at an open house and ask pointed questions about any flaws that weren’t published on the listing.
  • There’s more flexibility and freedom to tour the property at your own pace and discuss any questions or concerns.
  • You don’t need mortgage pre-approval to attend a true open house, unlike private tours.

What to look for at an open house

Now that we’ve covered the basic highlights of attending an open house event, let’s dive deeper into the details. Here are a few essential parts of the home that you should investigate when you tour the property with your agent.

Condition of house

This first entry on the list is perhaps the most obvious thing to keep in mind when you first enter a home for sale. The property’s condition isn’t only tied to its age. Simply asking the seller’s agent about the year in which the home was constructed isn’t enough. Check the ceilings, basement, walls, and flooring for signs of wear or water damage, strange odors, and mold, for starters.

Neighbors and neighborhood

Next, be sure to ask the seller’s agent about the type of neighborhood that surrounds the home. What kind of careers do the neighbors have, how active are the other homeowners, how large is the population nearby, and what amenities are closest--these are all good points to bring up at the open house.

Storage space

When it comes to storage, every homeowner and their family has their own requirements. Make sure there is enough closet space, attic space, and basement storage to fit your lifestyle. If not, ask about other storage options available nearby.


Privacy is another critical subject to clarify when you tour a house as a buyer. Talk with the seller’s agent and the other open house guests to get their input. Check out the backyard to see what kind of fencing or barrier separates the home from the others, and look through a few windows to see whether or not there could be an issue with your view.


Good home air circulation may not be at the top of your mind when you enter a house for sale, but it’s important to check. Make sure all the windows are in good condition with quality screens and locks. Take a look at how much negative space there is in the larger rooms for air to flow freely from room to room and walk through the kitchen and bathroom to ensure that fans are in place. A house with good ventilation built into its design will make you and your family more comfortable and reduce utility costs year-round.

Other Buyers

The last thing to watch out for on your open house tour is the other buyers there at home with you. In fact, you can learn quite a lot by observing the behavior of the other guests. Try to avoid being the first open at the event. Stay back and see whether or not the other buyers are showing interest. If people seem to be leaving the open house quickly, there could be a problem with the property or simply a lack of demand. If, on the other hand, buyers are excited and asking a lot of questions, it could mean that the property will sell quickly or for a high amount.

A summary of open house “Do’s” and “Don’ts”

Finally, let’s wrap up our guide to open house tips for buyers with a brief overview of the most important do’s and don’ts when it comes to touring a house for sale. 

What to do at an open house

  • Be detail oriented, looking carefully for any signs of staining, flooding, or leaks from the plumbing or roof
  • Check for signs of neglect like rusty pipes, black stains on molding and caulking, or creaky floors 
  • Meet with other open house guests (and even the neighbors) to get insights into their motivations and budget as well as impressions of the area
  • Ask questions about the cost of maintenance and utilities that the previous owner paid on average
  • Be respectful and follow any house rules that the owner and their agent have set up for open house guests

What to avoid doing at an open house

  • Bring children or pets along with you
  • Not introducing yourself or your agent or not signing in as a guest
  • Crowding into rooms with other potential buyers already inside

Reach out to a local real estate agent today!

There you have it: our complete guide to what to look for at an open house. We hope these open house tips for buyers will be able to help you navigate your next open house event confidently with all the insider knowledge you need to know.

If you have any questions or comments to share, or you’d like to learn more about buying luxury real estate on the North Shore, get in touch today! Contact Maggie Keats for more information.


Work With Maggie

Working with North Shore’s Maggie Keats means you’re working with the #1 producer on Long Island and getting an unparalleled level of dedication. Maggie is frequently mentioned in national and local media due to her extraordinary sales record and market expertise. If you’re looking for luxury Port Washington homes for sale or want to get the most value out of your Sands Point sales transaction, contact Maggie and get started on your North Shore real estate journey today.

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