Visiting Open Houses in Lake Charles? Here’s What You Need to Know

Visiting Open Houses in Lake Charles? Here's What You Need to Know

Are you thinking about visiting some open houses? Great! It’s a good way to determine whether you’re really ready to buy, to get a good feel for what’s on the market in your area, to figure out what you like and don’t like, and to begin to get a handle on exactly how much house you can afford. But to get the most out of your weekend and evening excursions and to avoid wasting time, there are a few things you need to be aware of. Here’s what you need to know about visiting open houses in Lake Charles.

How to Prepare

Before you set out to attend open houses in Lake Charles, there are a few preparatory things you should do to make the experience both pleasant and productive, for example . .

Dress Appropriately

“Dress comfortably for an open house, and wear walking shoes – there could be some wandering and stair climbing involved.”

Bring the Necessary Supplies

“Bring a notebook and tape measure to take specific measurements, if needed, and forget to tuck a mask in your bag,” just in case.

Bring Your Pre-approval Letter

Although it’s a rare occurrence, you may, while attending open houses, come across the perfect house that checks everything on your list – and you may want to move toward making an offer. In that case, having your pre-approval letter with you will allow the seller to perceive you as a serious buyer, and it will give you more negotiating leverage.

What to Look at and For

When visiting open houses in Lake Charles or anywhere else, you need to look at and for certain critical things. It’s good to keep these always in mind so that you don’t get distracted or seduced by isolated attractive features and other bells and whistles. 

Signs of Damage and/or Neglect

  • Stained or warped baseboards in the basement, which can indicate water damage
  • Water stains on the ceiling and walls
  • Musty smells that betray the presence of mold and mildew
  • Black spots on the back wall under sinks and lavatories
  • The condition of floors, especially where rugs/carpets may be hiding damage
  • Condensation on or around windows 
  • Ceiling cracks and windows and doors that don’t open and close properly, which may mean foundation problems, and windows
  • The condition of the roof
  • The overall condition of the exterior

These are some of the top things to be on the lookout for, but there are many more. If you’re not certain how to proceed here, you can contact a Lake Charles agent for some guidance. Just call (337) 305-8040.

The Neighbors and Neighborhood

“When you buy a home, you’re also buying neighbors too. Look carefully at the people you might be living next to (this includes any homes that border the backyard as well). How well do they maintain their house and yard? Do they have any children or pets? Are those pets outside barking right now? Is their trash put away neatly or is it flowing all over the yard? Are there lots of cars in the driveway?”

Closet/Storage Space

“You might not think closet space would be a deal-breaker, but once you’re in your new home for six months and there’s no room for any of your stuff, you’ll think otherwise. Storage space is an incredibly important feature to pay attention to. No one wants to live in a sea of clutter, but that’s exactly what you’ll be doing if you buy a home that won’t fit your current lifestyle.”

Natural Air Flow

If you don’t want to run the air conditioner from April to October, the home will need some natural airflow. “Look carefully at how the home is laid out. Are the doors and windows positioned so that you can open everything up and take advantage of the breeze come summer? . . . Keep in mind that opening the windows will lower your utility bills. Good airflow also keeps moisture moving through the home, and may help reduce allergies.”

The Questions You Should Ask

Similarly, there are some critical questions you need to ask the seller and/or her agent when visiting open houses in Lake Charles. These include . . . 

Why are you selling?

“Knowing the reasons why the homeowner is selling can give you a lot of information. It can point you toward potential pitfalls of the home and provide you with guidance when submitting your offer.”

How long has it been on the market?

If a home has been on the market for some time, that may mean that it has problems, that it is priced too high, or that the seller is unwilling to negotiate – all things you need to be aware of. The upside is that if a house has been on the market for a while, you’ll likely have more negotiating power.

Are there any structural issues?

“Sellers are required to disclose any structural or code issues they know exist on the property,” but, sadly, they don’t always do so. “[S]o be sure to request an official seller’s disclosure from the listing agent. This disclosure will point you toward more specific questions you want to cover.”

Have there been any DIY renovations?

“Ask . . . about any renovations that were done to the home, especially ones done by the homeowner. These are more likely to have issues down the road. Plus, they could create a code violation if they didn’t get the proper permits.”

When were the major systems last updated?

“You’ll want to get an idea of when the home’s major systems and features were updated – including the roof, siding, electrical system, heating and air conditioning, water heater, and more. This will give you a good grasp of what repairs and replacements you’ll be due for soon”

Is there an HOA?

Be sure to ask whether the home is attached to a homeowner’s association (HOA). If it is, you will reap certain benefits, but you’ll also have to pay dues and abide by the association’s rules.

What is the neighborhood like?

As we mentioned above, you need to know what the neighborhood is like to determine whether it’s a good fit for you. “Loving the home is just one part of the equation. You also want to love the community it’s located in. Ask . . . about the surrounding neighborhood – its amenities, the people who live there, and what businesses and services are in the area.”

What’s your timeline for selling?

“Getting a feel for the seller’s timeline is always wise. Sellers who are ready to move quickly, or have already moved, are typically more open to negotiations. Sellers who are in no rush to sell tend to wait it out for the perfect offer.”

Can I see myself living here?

This may be the most important question of all. Can you really envision you and your family living in the home with all your belongings in place, living your lifestyle in the best way possible?

Make the Most of Open Houses in Lake Charles

As you can see, then, there’s a lot more to visiting open houses than just viewing attractive homes on a leisurely Sunday afternoon outing – if that is, you are serious about finding the right home. And that’s why it’s so critical to work closely with a local Lake Charles agent. An experienced agent can guide you through the whole process and provide the critical eye than can help you avoid a huge home-buying mistake. If you’re serious about visiting open houses in Lake Charles to find one to buy, contact us at (337) 305-8040.

Connect With Us!

If you're looking to buy or sell a property connect with us today!

How Can We Help You?

We would love to hear from you! Please fill out this form and we will get in touch with you shortly.
    (check all that apply)
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.