10 Tips When Viewing a Home For Sale


When you’re in search of the perfect home, you’ll likely be visiting several different properties before settling on the right one. But when viewing so many different houses, it’s easy to forget all the details of each one. This is a big purchase, so you want to make sure you’ve got a clear idea of the home you plan to put an offer on.

Maximize your time spent at each house showing by following these 10 tips.

1. Drive By at Different Times of the Day and Week

The home may look and feel different on a weekday morning compared to a weekend afternoon, so take the time to drive by the home at various times of the day and week to get a more well-rounded feel for the place. For instance, a home located across from a school may seem quiet and serene on a weekend, but it can be busy and chaotic on a weekday morning as parents are rushing to get their kids off for the day.

2. Sketch Out the Layout

When visiting many different homes on the market, it can be tough to remember how each one is laid out. If you can get permission from the sellers, taking photographs can really help. Otherwise, you might want to bring some paper and a pencil so you can sketch the layout of every floor and each room as you meander throughout the home.

3. Bring a List of Traits That Are Important to You

If your list of needs and wants is lengthy, you’ll want to jot them down. Bring this list with you to every showing so you can check off what each home has. When you’re actually viewing different homes, it can be easy to forget what’s on your list. If some homes barely check anything off your list, you can safely cross them off.

4. Bring a Friend or Family Member Along

It’s always helpful to bring someone along with you to showings to provide you with sound, objective opinions about each home. Whether it’s a family member or friend, this person can serve as a sounding board and offer you suggestions about each property you visit. 

5. Scope Out the Exterior of the Property

Look for any signs of damage to the home’s exterior, such as cracks in the walls, broken siding panels, or peeling roof shingles. Issues with a home’s exterior can be very costly to repair, so you’ll have to factor that in when negotiating on a purchase price.

6. Check the Plumbing and Electrical Systems

Don’t be afraid to turn on and off all light switches, open and close all faucets, and flush all toilets. Are any lights flickering or burned out? Is the water flow weak? Does it take forever for the water to heat up? This will give you a good idea about how well the electrical and plumbing systems are working in the home.

7. Inquire About Monthly Expenses

Ask the sellers how much they pay each month in utilities, such as gas, electricity, and water. Inquire about property taxes and insurance fees, as well as HOA dues if applicable. There’s a lot more to paying for a home than just the mortgage, so knowing what to expect in terms of other types of payments can help you assess whether a certain home is within your budget.

8. Find Out What’s Included

You wouldn’t be too happy if you fell in love with the kitchen appliances or window drapes only to find out at the negotiating table that they’re not included in the sale. Of course, these could be points of negotiation, but it’s better to find out up front what’s included in a sale and what isn’t.

9. Identify Any Modifications to the Home

If any improvements have been made on a home, you may want to find out exactly how these modifications were made, if the improvements were done by a professional contractor, and if any permits were obtained when making these changes.

10. Keep an Eye Out For Signs of Water Damage or Moisture

Moisture and water can wreak havoc on a home and cause wood rot and mold build-up. Look for signs of dampness in the home, such as stains on the ceiling or bubbling paint on the walls. 

The Bottom Line

Given the hot market we’re currently in, there is often little time to book a second showing on a listing. As such, you need to make sure you make the most of your time spent at each viewing. Keep these tips in mind when visiting homes on the market to make sure you’ve accumulated an arsenal of information to help you make the right buying decision.