Open Home Viewings – What to Look for when you visit the home

Brent Palmer
Published on February 24, 2017

Open Home Viewings – What to Look for when you visit the home

Viewing a property at an open home can be a bit of a whirlwind.  You know time is limited, there are quite often lots of other buyers around and you don’t want to be too nosey, so you quite often finds yourself back in the car without really seeing the home.  To ensure you at least get what you need from an open home viewings here are some of the most important things to check…

Which way does the house face? It might not be as obvious as a nice kitchen or an attractive front yard – but it can make all the difference between living in a home that is warm and full of light or one that is seemingly dark and hard to heat.  If you are unsure – you can always download a compass app on your phone while at the open home to figure it out.

How much storage space is there?  This is one of those things that you can easily overlook until the day you move in.  It can be one of the biggest reasons for buyer regret.  So plan where you can put the key things such as linen, vacuum cleaner, ironing board, kids old toys, camping gear, cleaning products etc.  Are there wardrobes in every bedroom?  Is there potential to improve or alter the storage to suit you?

Are the rooms big enough?  As you walk through the property, think about what furniture you have to fit into each room.  Is the space big enough for the kids to play, for a suitable dining table, for your king size bed?  However, your current furniture shouldn’t put you off buying a home – it is a much bigger investment than a couch that can be changed.  Mind you, you do need to ensure you can have the lifestyle you intend.

Are there signs of damp?  Look for ceilings and walls with watermarks, especially in wet rooms.  You can usually smell a mouldy musty smell, or see plaster or paint flaking off.  Another tell-tale sign is swelling timber on the windowsills or skirting boards.

Has the staging fooled you?  There are some clever tricks out there that help sell a home.  Delicious smells, clever lighting, strategically placed mirrors, quick paint jobs or a warm fire.   You may view with your heart the first time, but ensure you go back for a second look using your head.

Would your cars fit in the garage?  If you intend to park your car in the garage, then it may pay to double check.  Newer homes especially sometimes don’t fit utes or 4×4 vehicles.

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The Neighbours?  Take note to see if their property is well maintained.  If you are serious about the property, then it would pay to go and knock on the door for a brief chat.  A horrible neighbour can make life awfully difficult.

Are the windows in good condition?  Is the paint on the window frames in good condition?  If the owners look after those they have probably taken care of the other maintenance jobs.  If you can peel away paint, or put your finger into a wooden window frame, they could be rotten.  Also take note if the double glazing is in good condition – if there is condensation between the two panes, then it usually means they are faulty.

What condition is the roof in?  Roofs can be an expensive business, and life expectancy varies greatly depending on the materials.  Note whether the roof is, or is almost flat, as you’ll need to know if it’s been sealed properly.  Also, take note of any internal gutters and the condition of any exterior guttering.

What condition are the electrics in?  Take a look and see if there are enough power points, and see if you can tell what condition the wiring is in.  Rewiring a home is another expensive exercise, so you could check out the fuse board to see if it’s old and outdated.

Flooring?  Is the floor uneven? If it’s on piles and this is the case, then it could have some fairly serious work needing done.  What about the coverings – are they OK, or would you need to replace them?

What about the plumbing?  Check the water pressure in the shower, and run the bath tap.  This should give you an idea if it’s mains or low pressure.  See if the agent knows or if you can tell if it’s copper piping. Many homes build in the 70’s, 80’sand early 90’s had Dux-Quest plumbing which over it’s life has become notorious for leaking.

Noise?  Keep quiet and see if you can hear traffic, planes or the neighbours talking.  Obviously, many of these factors are reflected in the price, but just be sure they are if it’s an issue.  Don’t be afraid to ask the seller or agent to turn the TV or radio off if it’s on.

Location, location, location?  Double check things like access to shops, schools, bike paths and public transport.  Take a walk down the street and check out the neighbourhood.  Are you near a pub or takeaway that can be noisy in the evenings?  Are you near a train, airport, peak traffic path or large truck route?

Water drainage?  Take a look at the condition, whereabouts, frequency and levels of external drains.  If there has been a flood in the area recently – is there new carpet, and was the flooding the reason why?  How much room is there from the ground for the house to be safe from water?

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Try and look past the clutter.  The presentation of a home can attract or repel people, so ensure it’s the home itself you’re analysing and not the contents.  Don’t pay too much attention to other prospective buyers – it’s your thoughts that count, and they may say things to put others off on purpose.  However, lots of interest is important as it means it bodes well for resale.

If you feel that Open Homes aren’t for you, then they aren’t your only option. Call the real estate agent and ask for an appointment to view the property in your own time.  This could be an especially good tactic if the market is moving really fast, you may be the first in with an offer. If you do like it, then ensure you go back for a second viewing with someone who might spot things that you don’t know about.  Ensure you go through at a different time of day too – perhaps peak traffic time if that’s an issue, or at sunset or early morning if the sun is a concern.

If decide you’re interested, it’s time to start asking questions. Get as much information as you can from the agent. These questions are a good place to start:

Has there been any work done?  Is it all permitted or consented?  Why are they selling? How long has it been on the market?  Why isn’t it selling?  Have there been any offers?  How much are the rates?  Is there anything I should know that you have to disclose to me?

If you only ask one thing, then ensure it’s the last question.  Real Estate agents are obliged to tell you if there is something wrong with the property.

About the Author: The above article on Open Home Viewings – What to Look for when you visit the home was written and provided by Brent Palmer, a local leader in the field of Richmond and Nelson Real Estate sales, marketing, advanced technology for home selling, and social media.

You can contact Brent Palmer here, or at 027 544 9921. He has helped many people buy and sell homes in the Nelson, Stoke and Richmond areas for years, and would love the opportunity to help you as well.

Thinking of selling your home? I have a real passion for helping people sell their homes in our Nelson and Tasman Region, as well as the marketing, social media & advanced technology for home selling that goes along with it. I’d love to have the opportunity to sit down with you discuss how we can work together to get you the best price.

I help people buy and sell real estate in the following Nelson and Tasman  towns  & neighbourhoods: Wakefield, Brightwater, Hope, Appleby, Redwood Valley, Mapua, Stoke, Tahunanui, Atawhai and of course, Richmond and Nelson City.

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