7 Reasons to Visit a Home More Than Once Before Offering on It

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Capital Properties DC AB15253

Now that the market is slowing down a bit with higher average days on market, many buyers are able to take a breath before whipping out their check books on a house that just hit the market.  They are receving the luxury of thinking about a possible purchase for more than a nano-second (for most houses in most markets.)

As a buyer, you want to learn as much as possible about your future home.  After all you are buying it to live in for at least a few years - so shouldn't you take at least a few minutes to learn about it? 

Yes, you will have the house inspected, but why not do a little research up front so that you are better informed on what you are buying and what you should be paying for it.  Many of these reasons will not be identified by a home inspection so you need to do the sleuthing.  A few reasons are part of the home inspection - but you can sleuth out some of the answers ahead of the inspection - and save the money if the answer on the property is a resounding no.  

Here are seven reasons to view a house in person several times before committing to buy it. And to visit not just during daylight hours but also in the evening as well.

Noise. A buyer won’t be able to learn every audible sound at a house the first time there, but with multiple visits they’re likely to hear if barking dogs live close, if neighbors are noisy late at night, if people are outside talking early or late, and more. Are kids practicing musical instruments for hours at a time that you can hear? These are important questions that buyers need to know - particularly when the home is close to others or a condo.

Indoor layout. It’s impossible to tell from one visit what it will be like living in a newly purchased house.  If possible, take ten minutes and sit quietly in the living room and then in the kitchen. How is the light? What do you see from the windows in the kitchen? Is there good sight line to the yard?  Do the rooms flow well for you? Are there stairs that could be problematic for you or kids? Are the bedrooms in the right places? (I don't like cape cods with only two bedrooms upstairs for a family with two or three children.) Is there enough storage space? Clients should know a house’s layout by heart before making a bid on it.

Little things. Only by multiple visits can you identify things that will need fixing or replacing. What shape is the bathroom tile in? Do all the outlets work? Do doors and windows open, close and lock properly? Spend time in each room with a notebook. If possible, turn on every appliance and run every water source to make sure drains are unclogged.  Are you going to have to paint before you move in?  Are the light fixtures adequate? 

Big things Granted you are not a home inspector, but you have eyes that work and common sense to use.   Look at the furnace and the outside air conditioning unit. Are they rusting or is there a sticker saying "installed in 2023?"  How does the water heater look?  Is there rust at the bottom of the tank or is it a tankless water heater that will save you money?  In a single family home or a townhome, step outside and look at the roof.  Are the shingles lying flat as they should or are they buckling?   Is there moss on the roof or little trees growing out of the gutters?   It's fine if these things need repair or replacement but the property should be priced accordingly - or at least your offer should reflect the property condition.  You also need to make sure that you have the cash on hand for repairs or the financing to allow for the repairs.  For example, an FHA 203k loan would be perfect for many fixer-uppers. 

Neighbors. It’s amazing how often people buy houses with no idea who the neighbors are. The more visits made to a house for sale the more likely you will encounter neighbors, especially on weekends, when most people are home. Those buying a condo/coop should meet others living there, especially directly above and below them.  When you are upstairs (assuming the house has a second floor,) take a peek into the neighboring yards. Are they neat and tidy or is it the back yard of a junk yard or 

Cars You can tell a lot about your future neighbors and the neighborhood by the cars parked in the street and how they are parked.  Are the cars newer cars or old and beat up? Are there a lot of high end cars or electric cars?  Are the cars parked in driveways or hidden away in garages?  Is there enough parking for the neighborhood or are cars jammed together, possibly making it difficult - or even unsafe-  to walk your dog in the evening? 

Nighttime Vibe  It' a good idea to visit your future neighborhood in the evening.  During the daylight hours when many people are at work, the neighborhood may feel empty.  In the evening when people are home, you may get a chance to actually see some of your possible future neighbors.  Are there people on front porches? Are there children playing in the yards or people walking their dogs? Do you feel like the community is inviting and safe or empty and dark?  These are answers your realtor can't give you.  Everyone's standards and reactions are different. You need to make the decisions on whether you will be happy here. 

For many of these questions, there is no right or wrong answer.  Only you can calibrate your reactions to the information you are gathering - but you should gather it in your own time. 

If you are looking for a new home in the DC metro area, please give the Lise Howe Group a call at 240-401-5577 or email us at lise@lisehowe.com

Comments (31)

Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

This is good advice to share.

Have a great day and an outstanding weekend.

Sep 17, 2023 11:16 AM
Bill Salvatore - East Valley
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - 602-999-0952 / em: golfArizona@cox.net

Thanks for sharing and enjoy your Sunday!

Bill Salvatore, Realtor- Arizona Elite Properties

Sep 17, 2023 11:28 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Lise Howe  There is still a shortage of listings in our area and buyers who take their time may miss out. While it may be a good idea, it is important to act fast.

Sep 17, 2023 11:55 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Lise, there are some properties there is not enough time to get back before offers are due in, but most of the time you can get in a second showing.

Sep 17, 2023 12:18 PM
Sham Reddy CRS
Howard Hanna RE Services, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH

Thanks Lise for sharing great points!!!

It' a good idea to visit your future neighborhood in the evening.  During the daylight hours when many people are at work, the neighborhood may feel empty.  In the evening when people are home, you may get a chance to actually see some of your possible future neighbors

Sep 17, 2023 02:23 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Lise Howe  awesome advice just wondering how many have taken your advice two or three years ago when the market was so hot?:)Endre

Sep 17, 2023 11:07 PM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker
Great information, thanks for sharing.  I hope you have a great day.
Sep 18, 2023 03:54 AM
Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

These are all very good reasons to visit a home more than once but sometimes the offer needs to be made quickly, haha.  Due diligence is the key to a happy home!

Sep 18, 2023 05:11 AM
Doug Rogers
RE/MAX Coastal Properties - Destin, FL
Your Real Estate Resource!

Yes indeed, I get nervous when the buyer's second look is the home inspection. 

Sep 18, 2023 08:16 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Lise:

These are great suggestions, and if time permits (and the risk of losing a house by not making an offer right away is lessened) it's wise to check out these issues, especially the matters that are particularly important...like noise and views. Rushing through a house is not in the buyer's best interest since it's easy to miss certain things, depending on the circumstances.

It can be tough these days since so listings can often go so quickly and buyers don't want to miss out.


Sep 19, 2023 04:11 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Lise- I love these tips and you're spot on!  We bought one of our favorite homes years ago. It had a new pool and a layout we loved and the location was perfect. There was a railroad track that was a few blocks away and the concern was that it would be a distraction. We went back during the day and at night and it was barely noticeable. 

Sep 19, 2023 07:59 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

These are great tips for times when the market isn't a multiple-offer-must-buy-now scene!

Sep 21, 2023 05:12 AM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

Great points Lise Howe and your very first point struck home with me on a personal level. When we purchased our home I had no idea how loud a train track two blocks away can be or a drag racing strip a half mile away. Gee whiz!

Sep 21, 2023 12:55 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Sep 23, 2023 06:24 PM
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Platinum - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Great post!  Thanks for sharing and enjoy your day!

Sep 24, 2023 06:31 AM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Lise Howe,

I believe one can not or should not buy a home after seeing it only once. Even in multiple offer situations, most people cannot decide with this kind of stress. 
I also see more fall-throughs when there has been only one showing. 


Sep 24, 2023 07:49 AM
Personal Engagement,Precision, and Professionalism

Hi Lisa! What a great post.  I'm saving and sending to my clients.  It is true.  Seeing things the second time is always a great idea.  When I have multiple offers on a property that I have listed, I normally ask the accepted offer buyers to go see the property again before we open escrow...because I want to be sure that they will be satisfied after even sometimes fierce negotiations over a course of days.  Either way, though, I see the value!  Wishing you much success with your buyers and sellers, Lisa!

Sep 24, 2023 09:07 AM
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Every house has a vibe and you have brought great wisdom for anyone thinking of buying a home and wanting to take these things into consideration Lise Howe 

Sep 24, 2023 01:44 PM
Ed Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Excellent advice here on multiple visits. Weekends are good but maybe a weeknight as well.

Sep 24, 2023 05:12 PM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Excellent post! Noise levels are really only one can determine if they are in the home.

Sep 24, 2023 06:43 PM