15 Critical Things to Look For When Touring an Open House

Whether you're looking at photos on a real-estate website or touring an open house live and in person, here are some bright red flags and some more subtle problems to look for.

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When touring an open house, it’s easy to become distracted by things that don’t matter all that much. What’s with the orange-and-red shag carpeting in the master bedroom? (You can replace it.) Why the porcelain owl collection? (It’s not staying behind.) When’s the last time you saw a fuzzy toilet-seat cover? (It’s definitely not staying.)

But there are other, more important things to look for when walking through a house you might like to buy. Some are obvious: Why does that kitchen floor look like it runs downhill? Others are not: When we bought our first house, it wasn’t until we tried to have the fireplace professionally cleaned that we learned it had been damaged, likely in a chimney fire.

Whether you’re looking at photos on a real-estate website or touring an open house live and in person, here are some bright red flags and some more subtle items of which to take note.

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