Note to Homebuyers: Tour the Entire House

That off-limits room might hide a worrisome defect.
Milwaukee: Downer Woods

Milwaukee: Downer Woods

The Downer Woods neighborhood is home to the Universtity of Wisconsin Milwaukee and is just a few blocks from the Lake Michigan shoreline.

From: A Sale of Two Cities

A professional home inspector is allowed access to all areas of the house -- basement, attic, crawl spaces, practically everything. Why not you? Serious sellers don't have anything to hide from potential homebuyers and will leave all doors unlocked.

Ask about any rooms that are "off limits" during your home tour, and arrange to see them later if you're interested in the house.

If a seller doesn't want you to see the attic, for instance, what's wrong up there? If the basement is locked, how can you check if the foundation is solid? And if you can't open the breaker box, how do you know the wiring is safe and up to code?

Also, look behind boxes or clusters of furniture. The sellers may just be moving, or they may be trying to hide a flaw.

Finding "the surprise behind door No. 3" is only exciting on Let's Make a Deal. When you're buying a home, it can influence how you structure a purchase agreement and if you make an offer at all.

Next Up

7 Negotiating Tips for Homebuyers

Remember these tips during the deal-making process of your home purchase.

What to Do When You Find a House, But Can't Sell Yours

Find a house you'd love to buy, but can't sell your current home? Get real-life solutions from real estate expert Tara-Nicholle Nelson.

How to Make an Offer for a House

Making an offer on a house isn't a total roll of the dice. There are some basic steps you and your Realtor can take to arrive at a price range and other terms that make sense.

My House is Worth What?

Before you sell your home, figure out its worth—and what it'll take for buyers to bite. Here's how.

Looks Can Be Deceiving -- Get Your House Thoroughly Inspected

Foregoing an inspection to save money is tempting, but extremely risky. Read why it's wise to have home inspections when buying, even if for purely informational and peace-of-mind purposes.

What You Need to Know About HOAs

Get the lowdown on how a community is managed before you buy.

Pricing Your Home to Sell

Follow these tips for pricing your home correctly in a competitive market.

What to Know About Fixer-Uppers

With patience and elbow grease, you can turn a dump into a dream.

When to Pitch a Lowball Offer

Answer these questions before making an offer below asking price.

Price Low to Sell High

Slash asking price early, plus more tips from real estate guru Barbara Corcoran.

Shop This Look

Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.