When you’re searching for a new home and running around all weekend traipsing from inspection to inspection, it’s all too easy to lose track of the properties you see and which ones you want to seriously consider.
Here are the things to check at your next open for inspection to ensure you make the best use of your time and so you’ll be ready to make an offer with confidence when you find the one.
For sale: 97 The Crescent, Ascot Vale, VIC
To avoid being stuck with a money draining ‘property lemon’ there are key structural and internal features to be wary of while inspecting a home. Are there any signs of rising damp, water damage or mould? Water stains on ceilings, blistering of plasterboard and warped floorboards are all red flags indicating a water issue that can be potentially expensive to rectify. Be on the lookout for large cracks in walls, the ceilings and brickwork, uneven or squishy feeling flooring and doors that don’t close properly, as these can all be signs of foundation issues that can also be costly to fix.
Are there any areas that’ll require renovation? Or is the house move in ready? Are you willing to take on some projects or a major reno? As you tour the home make notes of and take pictures of things that aren’t in good condition. This will heavily impact what you can afford to spend, especially if you’ll need to carry out several projects or a major overhaul after moving in. As you move up to and through the home see if the roofing, gutters, footpaths, fencing, flooring, tiling, paintwork, decking, appliances and cabinetry appear to be in good condition or not.
If security is a high priority for you be sure to check whether there are locks on the windows, deadlocks to the main entryways, security doors fitted, that the garage is lockable and whether there is a home security system installed. If not, these will all be additions you’ll have to foot the bill for later so that you feel safe and secure in your new home.
When shopping for a new house most people create a wish list in their head of the key features they’re looking for in a new home. This may be four bedrooms for your growing family, a train station within walking distance, a decent backyard for your pets, a big master suite with double vanity, an eight-burner gas cooktop, two secure off street car spaces or a cinema room. Whatever they may be, be sure to note down which properties you see cover some or, if you’re lucky, all your wish list requirements.
For sale: 24 Rolls Court, Rye, VIC
Rates and fees
If you speak to a financial advisor before commencing house hunting they can help you understand your budget, mortgage repayments, insurance costs, stamp duty and any grants or exemptions you might be entitled to. At the inspection, it’s important to make sure you can afford the property moving forward by requesting from the agent what the council rates, water rates and body corporate fees are for the property (where applicable).
Engage the agent
Last of all if you’re interested in the property it’s invaluable to take time to chat with the agent. Good things to ask include: how long the property has been on the market, why is it for sale, do you have recent building inspection reports, have you had any offers yet, are the sellers open to negotiation and whether they have any similar listings coming up, in case you miss out. Also, request information about comparable recent sales in the area to get an idea of what would be a realistic sale price.
Your handy open house checklist
Number of bedrooms:
Internal structural issues:
External structural issues:
Areas where renovations are required:
Key neighbourhood amenities:
Wish list items:
- Body Corp –
- Council –
- Other –
- Agent name:
- Age of the property:
- Length of time property has been listed:
- Reason for selling:
- Owner’s expectation for sale price:
- Price negotiable: Y/N
- Any offers yet: Y/N
- Requested comparable recent sales info: Y/N
- Recent pest and building inspection report available: Y/N
- Next inspection time:
- Auction date or offers cut-off date (for private sale):
General impressions/ overall rating of suitability out of 10:
When searching for a new home always keep in mind that no property is going to be absolutely perfect for you. You may have to make some compromises on the location and/or property features just to get into the market.
We hope our guide and checklist of the most important things to look for at an open house put you on the right path to securing the home of your dreams.