Sifting through home listings online can often be very different than than the experience you have in person. That’s why open houses are extremely beneficial to those interested in purchasing a new home. It allows you to get a real feel of the home and whether or not it’s the right fit for you and your family. That being said, an open house needs to be taken seriously, as a perfectly staged home often can hide flaws or areas that may need improvement. To make sure you’re getting the most out of your search, follow these quick tips to know what to look for during an open house viewing.


Pay close attention to the layout of the home. The layout should provide flow from one room to the next, with rooms that offer adequate space for your family needs. If you have small children, you’ll want the bedrooms to be on the same floor as the master bedroom. If you have older children, you may want them to have their own bathroom. If you have teenagers, you’ll most likely want their room to be farther away from yours or to at least have enough space to give them some designated hang-out space. Also, think about if you need a workable space like an office, or a workshop to put to use.


Look for any odd smells that resemble earthy, musty odours – this could point to a problem with water damage and mold. Also, check for water stains on ceilings, dark patches around furniture on floorboards and check underneath all the sinks. Mold not only indicates water damage and flooding issues, but can also indicate underlying structural damage. Beyond the structural issues, black mold spores are dangerous to your health and costly to remove – a reason to avoid the home altogether.


The neighbourhood and your neighbours can play an integral role in your lifestyle and overall happiness when it comes to finding a new home. Look at the surrounding schools and local amenities to see if the area has everything you need. Also, look at the neighbouring properties to make sure you are not buying the best house on the block, with deteriorating properties around you. Lastly, check to see if there are any large, long-term construction projects nearby that will keep you up at night or disturb your peace.


Take a good walk around the home and look for areas that hinder your privacy. Does the backyard have a fence that blocks out peering eyes? Can you see directly into your neighbour’s home? Can they see directly into yours? Privacy is something that is important and should always be considered as you look at potential homes.

Cracks and Structural Damage

If the bricks outside are showing long vertical cracks, or if the paint is chipping, and the roof shingles are curling, you may want to give the home a hard pass. Signs of early structural damage along the exterior and roof can end up costing you a lot out of pocket in repairs.


Often overlooked is the storage capacity of a home. The design, location and layout may all be in line with your style, but if there isn’t enough storage to make that move practical, then it might be worth continuing your search. Inspect all the closets and areas that are available offer ample storage options. Consider that as you and your children get older, you obtain more belongings and you’ll need room to accommodate all your items. Always keep storage space in mind during the open house tour.

House hunting can be a fun and exciting adventure, but it can be overwhelming when you don’t really know what to look for beyond the stunning staged design. Knowing the important things to pay attention for when you view a home will help you feel confident in finding the right price for a house that is suitable for you and your family, while avoiding any hidden surprises.