What should prospective buyers look for during an open house? There are a number of legitimate concerns that people may have during this crucial step of the real estate process.

However, the experience could feel overwhelming, and the focus should always remain on the property. A home inspection before closing is a must. This will allow new buyers to fully understand the house, and what repairs need to be made - as well as any possible costs that could add up.

Prepare in advance

An open house provides the potential buyers with a lot of information. Therefore, it is important to plan ahead, according to FrontDoor.com. Proper research is a must beforehand, and everyone should be well aware of their financial situation, maximum offer, and home preferences. Going into an open house without knowing this could just end up as a waste of time, and the important aspects of the home itself could be overlooked. 

In addition, common courtesy is a must, as well. Manners shouldn't be checked at the door, especially if the buyer feels in a position of power. Attendees should always say please and thank you, either to the current seller or the real estate agent. The nicer everyone is, the easier time buyers will have to analyze the property.

Most importantly, an open house is the ideal opportunity to focus solely on the home, the news source noted. A property inspection is a perfect way to ensure that picking a specific house is the smart choice, and before that potential bidders should take a look around. Hopefully, sellers will be able to provide detailed information, such as rooms, features and square footage. Even the conversation should pertain to the home, with everyone staying on topic about possible hazards, concerns, or selling points.

Home problems to look out for

The overall condition of a house should be a big factor in the decision-making process. While a property inspection before closing the deal will help, during an open house there are several items that buyers should watch out for. 

For starters, the big picture should be looked at, according to Realtor.com. What this means is that when attendees drive up, factors such as the neighborhood, condition of the nearby homes, and the curb appeal should all be taken into consideration. Maintenance neglect could be a red flag, like peeling paint, cracked siding or an abundance of trash. An open house is the seller's time to showcase their property. If it doesn't look as good as it could, that might mean there are hidden problems lurking beneath the surface. 

Additionally, an open house is an ideal time for buyers to look for several other issues. For example, uneven floors are a telltale sign of a potentially serious hazard, the news source noted. Water damage is also something everyone should watch out for, such as stains on walls, floors ceilings. Common problem areas for this include the kitchen, bathroom and basement. A home inspection is also a good way to spot hazards, like lead paint. Homes that were built before 1978 used this, so it could pay off for potential buyers to ask during an open house. 

Another feature that buyers might find worth checking is the roof, Boston.com reported. Before entering a home during an open house, attendees should take a look up. A number of obvious flaws could be apparent, such as missing or damaged shingles and gaps. The gutters might also be a tell-tale sign. If there is a bunch of debris stuck in them, or if the component is missing or damaged, that could lead to additional problems down the road. 

Overall, a property inspection before committing to a home is necessary. Taking this step will help make sure that a buyer isn't walking into a financial nightmare.