Open House: The Kitchen Inspection That Everyone Needs to Know About

What to Look for in a Kitchen at an Open House -min

Attending an open house gives you the perfect opportunity to take a close look at every room in the house–especially the kitchen– to determine right off the bat if the home would be a good investment or not, because generally speaking, the kitchen happens to be one of the most important rooms that is a determining factor in attracting buyers (should you want to resell the home in the future). While the design and style of a kitchen can often be subjective, logically determining its functionality is also an important step in deciding whether or not you would want to buy the home. So the next time you walk through a home for sale, consider the following when evaluating the kitchen.

Appliance Updates

When going through a kitchen in a home for sale, be sure to test every appliance. While this may sound like an obvious step, plenty of buyers fail to do so and get stuck having to make a costly repair or replacement.  Test the stove-top and oven. If the home will be coming with a refrigerator, be sure it’s keeping the food as cold as it should be. Check out the inside of the dishwasher—does anything look damaged? Does it look neglected at all? If you see any problems at all with any of the kitchen’s major appliances, be sure to communicate that to your agent and decide whether or not to bring them up when it comes time to negotiate.


Replacing counter-tops can be extremely costly– all the more reason to make sure they’re in good shape and that you’re happy with the state they’re in. Be sure to inspect for chipped tiles or badly stained grout. If the counters are laminate, take note of any scratches or stains. Again, be sure to note everything you see and make sure your real estate agent is aware of it. If you’re planning on replacing the counter-tops in a restoration project down the road, be sure the kitchen is compatible with the materials and style you have in mind.

Cabinetry and Hardware

While most buyers judge kitchen cabinets based on their particular design taste, it’s important to determine their level of functionality.  Cabinets made of man-made materials (plastic, melamine or thermofoil) are likely to have a shorter life than cabinets made of solid wood. Be sure to take note of any wear and tear or water damage that may be present. Take into account whether you like the style of the cabinets. Would a fresh coat of paint fix the problem, or would you want to replace them all together? Perhaps new handles would give the kitchen the upgrade it needs.  These are important details to factor into your decision to invest in the property or not.

Electrical and Plumbing

If you’re interested in a home, both an appraiser and an inspector will run tests to make sure the plumbing and electrical systems are safe and high-functioning.  Before putting the home through those inspections, there are a couple things you can do yourself initially at the open house to see how things are working.  Bring a night-light or phone charger with you and test the kitchen’s outlets.  This is a quick way to see if they’re connected and working or not. Take the time to check the sink’s water pressure to make sure it’s up to your standards (the same goes for the bathrooms or laundry room sink as well). Poor pressure can be a sign of plumbing issues.  Again, an inspector and appraiser will check the plumbing and electrical systems and let your agent know if there is anything to be concerned about.

What do you look for in a kitchen when shopping for a home? Tell us about your experience in the comment section below. Check out this article for more information on what not to miss out on at an open house.

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