It was the Washington Post’s real estate reporter Michele Lerner who came up with the list of the most important “10 things” house hunters look for when they stop by Chicago open houses.
The ‘ten things’ list is a useful one—and every bit as relevant for homeowners selling their own Chicago homes. It’s valuable to be aware of which features are bound to get the closest scrutiny in open houses—which are usually preludes for serious shoppers’ later appointment showings.
The list of ten could be shortened into four major categories:
- Most of the ‘ten things’ will get a nod from any experienced Chicago homeowner: they’re the structural elements that everyone who has ever born responsibility for a home will recognize as the most basic. The integrity of roof, basement, foundation, and fireplace are among them, as are the age and apparent condition of the mechanical systems.
- Some other features like window functionality and appearance of trim and fascia will reveal the quality of craftsmanship and the level of maintenance.
- Two of the ‘ten things’ dealt with water detective work. Plumbing bears scrutiny, as do evidence of flooding: foundation work, cracks in bricks (not just the mortar), or warping under sinks, cabinets, and vanities.
- The final group is actually just a single detail—one that was listed first: the front door and its fixtures. That’s important not only from the vital first impression it conveys but also as an indicator of how well the house has been maintained overall. I also think the good old “curb appeal” should be included in this group. After all, it comprises the actual first impression that precedes opening that front door.
Following her list, Ms. Lerner notes a rule for Chicago open house visitors to bear in mind. It is to remember their own priorities—and thus to be willing to accept a few less-than-perfect details if their own must-have list is satisfied. In other words, don’t demand perfection lest a good house slip through your fingers.
When it comes to following up on an open house visit—or getting your own home into shape for its own Chicago open house—being able to rely on the current and ongoing experience of a real estate professional can be decisive. I hope you’ll call me to provide that help!