Engaging The Senses
They may be called viewings or showings, but that doesn't mean you can't enlist your other senses, in addition to sight, to help you sniff out the right home when visiting potential properties.
- Smell. Odors caused by pets, smoking, cooking, or trash are always off-putting, but may or may not be difficult to get rid of. Musty odors, however, may be bigger cause for concern: where there's a musty odor, there may be mold, and where there's mold, there may be a water problem. Whatever strange or offending odor you smell when you walk into a home, make sure you determine its source in order to ensure it's not symptomatic of a serious problem.
- Hearing. Dripping faucets, squeaking doors, running toilets, and rattling appliances might signal a home that hasn't been well maintained. What about traffic noise? Can you hear music pumping from the corner bar? Can you tell what TV show the neighbors are watching? Is there a train that passes through the area? Be sure to revisit any home you're considering at different times of the day and week. While things might be quiet on a weekday afternoon, things might sound distinctly different during the morning commute or on a Saturday night.
- Touch. Your sense of touch is handy in determining whether a home might have water problems. Note whether hardwood feels soft or springy underfoot. Do carpets feel damp? Press your foot down on the flooring around the base of toilets, sinks, fridges, and washing machines to see if there is any give. Feel discolored spots on the walls – are they damp or soft to the touch? Press a finger into the wood around windows; if it's soft, there's rot.