The Smart Reason Why You Should Bring a Golf Ball to Your Next Open House

published Nov 2, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

There are problems the average homeowner — and homebuyer — can’t see with the naked eye. While some end up being small issues in the grand scheme of things, others can actually be the sign of a much larger problem.

So how can you be on the lookout for issues that are hard to spot? Try slipping a golf ball in your pocket before heading to your next open house. Stacey Fulton, a real estate agent in Toronto, recently shared a video illustrating all the ways a golf ball can help hopeful homeowners uncover potential problems with their new home. 

A golf ball can tell you a lot about how your home was built.

When you get to the house you’re touring, you can place the golf ball on the floor to see how it rolls. If it gets away from you too fast, you’ll know that tilted floors could spell trouble.

Using a golf ball to check the slope of different areas of your home can tell you things like whether water runs towards your home’s foundation, or if the drain in your shower or bathtub is recessed enough to empty properly. 

“Not only can it reveal water issues for exterior areas, but also things like countertops, built-in shelving, fireplace mantels, and probably many other areas with slight out-of-level installation,” says Trent Paino, owner of HouseMaster of Heartland, a Neighborly company. Trouble with slopes and leveling can lead to issues such as possible foundation settlement, floor frame system damages, or uneven concrete slabs.

Uneven surfaces can be worrying, but they aren’t always cause for alarm.

Not every issue with sloping is a sign that something is majorly wrong. However, Paino says there are some instances when you might want to make like a ball yourself and roll right on to the next prospective property. For example, if you uncover something of large significance, something with a hefty price tag to repair, or something that could prevent the seller from being able to afford the fix at time of sale transaction, you might want to continue on your home search. “It always comes down to how much it is going to cost and who is willing/able to pay for it,” he explains. 

Credit: Woottinun Punthasen/

You should talk to your home inspector about any questions.

The golf ball can be used as a visual experiment to show a person what a skilled home inspector should be able to see with their own eyes, Paino explains. It’s a good argument for making sure you always attend your inspection. “The biggest thing a homebuyer can do to make the home inspection a positive experience is to simply show up.”

Just remember that not everyone will be a fan of the golf ball trick.

While Paino says it might be a fun exercise for excited homeowners, it’s likely that a lot of real estate professionals may not be wild about watching golf balls roll all around a listing. If you’re planning to test a home’s surfaces this way, you might want to be discreet or wait until you’re alone in the property with your agent and the inspector. 

If you’re the type of person who doesn’t even want to get that far without knowing about potential issues, you might want to forgo the golf ball in favor of a quieter option like a tennis ball.