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.

Keep Reading

Next Up

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.

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.

Q&A: A NYC Broker on the Benefits of 'Test Driving' Homes

On the fence about a prospective home? Some brokers are letting buyers try out homes before they sign on the dotted line.

Protecting Your Home & Finances in Tough Times

4 steps to take to weather a recession.

Options for First-Time Homebuyer Assistance

You're about to buy your first home. What options do you have for state and federal financial help?

Organizing for a Move

10 smart tips to help you plan and pack for your move.

Provide Easy Access For Showings

Opening up beyond the open house.

Pitching In: How to Buy With Others

Make sure all parties are on the same page before co-owning a property.

Price Low to Sell High

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

5 Things to Do Before Buying a Home

Property Virgin's Sandra Rinomato shares her to-do list for every first-time homebuyer.

Go Shopping

Refresh your home with stylish products handpicked by HGTV editors.

Watch Live TV

Don't miss your favorite shows. Live stream HGTV now.

Follow Us Everywhere

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