When you’re in the market for a new home, chances are you’ll be attending your fair share of open houses. These events are relaxed and casual affairs that give home buyers the opportunity to inspect the home and ask important questions in a laid back environment without the pressure of having to buy right on the spot. Every open house will have a representative on hand from the real estate agency selling the home and now is the time to ask questions that will help you make better informed decisions.

Don’t attend an open house unprepared. Only visit the homes you are genuinely interested in and when you go bring a camera, notebook and tape measure. You’ll want to take pictures of rooms that catch your attention as well as anything that looks out of the ordinary. You won’t be able to remember everything you saw so having a smart phone that can snap unlimited photos will help when you’re comparing different homes.

Use your tape measure and notebook to record dimensions to give you an idea of where your furniture will fit. If the open house is a wine and cheese gathering you will want o be discreet when you measure and take notes but this type of inspection is fairly common at an open house.

When touring the house and surrounding area keep an eye out for anything that doesn’t look right such as uneven floors, unfinished sections and the home exterior. Many people simply view the inside of a home at an open house but there’s no reason you shouldn’t also view the home from the outside so you can see the condition of the roof, gutters and siding.

Spend some time with the realtor asking questions that will assist in your decision making process. When the house was built, what energy efficient designs are incorporated and information about the neighborhood are all good questions to ask to learn more about the home and the area.

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