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Home Buyer Tips: Open House Red Flags


Home buyers love a good open house because they are like a sneak peek into the property with no pressure. In fact, many home buyers are tempted to browse at this time without an agent. This could be good to do (before you get serious about shopping for a home) since viewing multiple houses can help you determine priorities and deal breakers. It’s also a good time to watch out for  open house red flags….just remember you won’t get the full scoop until you bring your own agent into the process!

“For Sale” signs around the area

Something is wrong if multiple homes on the street, within the neighborhood, or even in close proximity are all for sale at the same time. There is usually a reason that homeowners are all choosing to leave at the same time. It could be due to increased crime, rezoning issues or decreasing property values. Whatever the reason, it’s unlikely the agent hosting the open house will disclose all information freely. Best to to check in with your own agent after you leave.


Strange smells

Like the “For Sale” signs, funky smells could be masking bigger problems. There could be mold, moisture or water damage that needs to be addressed. Yes, agents will often use fresh baked cookies or candles to make a home seem welcoming, but it could also be to cover up an odd odor.


Popcorn ceilings

Turns out popcorn ceilings aren’t just weird and out of date. They often contain asbestos and other harmful chemicals that need to be removed. It’s best to have a professional do the work, which can cost a couple thousand dollars.



Look closely around basement and bathroom walls for discoloration. The homeowner may try to wipe away the mold but there may still be visible signs that indicate a larger issue.



No home buyer wants to spot an insect or pest in a home they are considering. Still, it could be tempting to dismiss it if everything else seems perfect. Just consider that there could be pest infestation or termite damage that would ultimately be revealed with an inspection.


New or incomplete construction

A renovated home can be a huge draw for home buyers and so can a fixer-upper. Still, home buyers should pay close attention to mediocre repairs or upgrades that were potentially DIY as these could fail to hold up over the long run. Similarly, incomplete construction could prevent a lender from financing the home.

While none of these red flags are necessarily deal breakers, they are all signs that you need to get in touch with your REALTOR to learn more before moving forward!

Do you have questions about houses for sale in Nashville? Call DeSelms Real Estate today at 615.550.5565 and let one of our experienced agents help you!






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Our agents write often to give you the latest insights on owning a home or property in the local area.