Top 10 things to look for at an open house in Bozeman

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Top 10 things to look for at an open house in Bozeman


You’ve seen the ad in The Chronicle, and now you’re ready to dig in to what this Bozeman house really has to offer.  Here are some things that often get overlooked by the wall color and carpet, that we think are very important for you to pay attention to at an open house!

1.  The neighborhood

When I asked our realtors what someone attending an open house should look for, the neighborhood got an overwhelming response.  Look around. What is going on in the neighborhood?  What do the surrounding homes and yards look like?  Are they filled with junk and trash?  Is there a park, pond, trail or open space?  You can learn more about your neighborhood here.

2.  the neighbors

This goes along with the previous point.  Typically, open houses are on the weekend or at night, so it's a good time to see what the neighborhood is really like, ie. what is going on at your protentional neighbor’s house? Are kids playing, are people on their porches, are there 4 large dogs that are prone to bark?  These facets may change your mind about purchasing that seemingly-perfect house.

3.  hoa fee

While you are checking out the neighborhood, ask if there is an HOA fee and what services it covers (snow removal, park/land maintenance, etc.)  This could be a make it or break it depending on how large the fee is and what you are looking for.

4.  layout of the rooms

If you have little kids, are their bedrooms close by?  Do you want the master bedroom on the other side of the home from your teenager’s rooms?  Does the home flow from the kitchen to the dinning room to the family room?  These are things you can't easily change so it's good to have in mind what you want before attending the open house.

5.  energy upgrades

Are there energy upgrades that you can't readily see like extra insulation, upgraded windows, a more energy efficient furnace, ect. Factor all of this in to what you will be buying. 

6.  new developments

If the home is in a newer subdivision, ask what other developments are coming soon.  The view out the back deck of the farmland or The Bridgers may soon be filled with more homes.

7.  school

Remember that a home's location does not determine the school your kids will go to.  The school district determines what school your kids will go to.  You can be 1 block from a grade school but the 3rd grade may be full and those 3rd graders are bused to a school across town.

8.  signs of mold

Look at the ceiling. Is it wet? Is it black? Look in the windowsills. Is there moisture? This may be a sign of mold.  Make sure your agent has a mold disclosure from the sellers stating that there is not mold in the house (unless you're ready to take on that adventure).

9.  covenants

Covenants are important to know to see if what you want to do is allowed.  Ask for a copy of it- many times there are restrictions of fencing, street parking, camper parking and pets.

10.  ask questions

It is totally fine and normal to ask the seller why they are selling. It may be because they are downsizing, or it may be because the neigbors have a party every weekend.  These are important things to find out.

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