Once you have shortlisted some potential properties the next stage is to attend open for inspections.
Planning Your Schedule
As most open inspections are held at similar times and on similar days it is important to plan your weekly open inspection schedule to ensure you don’t miss viewing properties of interest.
Attending Open For Inspections
As a property buyer you should view a property several times before deciding to buy it. The first visit will give you an initial impression and will allow you to determine if the property meets requirements such as: location, size, age, style and access to facilities. A second visit will allow you to identify things you may have overlooked on your first visit, as well as clarify any questions you may not have asked the agent.
Things to Bring at an Open For Inspection
When you enter a property at an open inspection, you may be asked to provide proof of identity as well as contact details to the agent. This is a security measure. It is not a legal requirement for you to leave your details with an agent at an open house, but sellers can make this a condition of entry to their property.
Aside from proof of identity, it is also advisable to bring a checklist and/or notepad to write detailed notes about the property.
Things to Look Out For at an Open For Inspection
When inspecting the property there are a few things you should look out for, aside from those items on your wish list.
A major structural issue can add significant costs to home ownership. Some of the key structural issues you should look out for include;
- Sloping or bouncy floors may mean stumps need replacing.
- Damp brick walls can indicate rising or salt damp.
- Blisters or bubbles on paintwork can indicate termite activity.
- Cracked walls can indicate subsidence, requiring the replacement of stumps.
- Mouldy walls, lifting tiles, peeling paint or pools of water in wet areas can indicate excessive moisture.
- Fretting (cracked) brickwork can indicate major structural problems.
Make sure to visit the property at different times of the day to determine traffic and noise levels.
The street may be peaceful and quiet in the morning but in the evening, it may overflow with traffic.
Proximity to Key Activities
When inspecting the property make sure to find out the proximity of the property to key services such as public transport, supermarkets and even schools. Although these services may not be important to you they may be important to a potential buyer in the future when you decide to sell the property.
Open For Inspection Buying Checklist
When inspecting a home it is beneficial to use a checklist to conduct a thorough review of the property. Checklists can reveal problems a home may have which may indicate to you that major repairs are needed on the home.
Following is a helpful checklist for you to use during your open for inspections to ensure you don’t miss anything inside and outside the home.
Other Questions & Things to Consider
- Is there sufficient sound proofing? If you are looking to buy a unit or apartment, it is important to check if the property has sufficient sound proofing so you don’t have to listen to your neighbour’s music or conversations. Take particular notice of the building materials used and if they are solid and sturdy to provide a good sound barrier.
- Is there sufficient insulation? Ensure you ask or check the type of insulation the property has, to ensure the property is well insulated for the cold and hot months. This will also affect things such as heater and air conditioner running costs.
- Do special restrictions apply? Some local councils have restrictions on the type of changes that can be made to a property. These are generally known as covenants and can affect everything from the style of a fence or even the colour of a roof.
- Are there potential zoning changes? Find out if there are any changes to zoning planned for the area before you consider buying and decide if these are a possible advantage or disadvantage to the area and property value.
Extra Questions for Apartment/Flat/Unit Hunters:
- Does the body corporate allow a BBQ on the balcony or courtyard? With so many fire restrictions these days, some buildings do not allow BBQs to be lit on balconies. Make sure to ask if there are such restrictions; if yes is it relevant for whole year or only during certain time frames?
- Does the body corporate allow tenants/owners to have animals? If you have a pet this is the first question you must ask when considering a property. Some complexes allow cats only, while others do not allow pets at all.
- Is there permit parking? Most apartments/flats or units only come with one car spot. However if you need more room it is important to consider where you will park the additional vehicles. Some councils don’t allow occupants to apply for a permit if they live in an apartment complex. Make sure to ask the agent if there is permit parking available; if yes, how much is it going to cost you?
NEXT: Taking the Next Step
14. Moving Checklist