Open homes can be great fun. They’re a vital part of finding a new home. They also provide you with an opportunity to experience a property first-hand that you’ve only seen in pictures. Some buyers though can get caught up in the excitement and potentially miss out on some important information.
An open home isn’t just about taking a look at a new property. It’s your chance to learn more about your future home. We spoke with award-winning real estate agent Andrew Potts, from Independent’s Gungahlin Office, to get his tips on what to look for in an open home.
1. Have a plan
Hopefully before you start looking at property, you’ll have made a list of all the things you need in a home. If not, check out this post.
According to Andrew “If you plan well, you should be able to see all the available properties, that suit your needs and your budget, in the location you want to live in, within 2 to 4 weeks. This will give you an excellent feel for what is in the market right now.”
“While you’re at the property it can sometimes be useful to take notes, but it’s much more important to get a feel for the home. A lot of buyers who take copious notes on several different properties can end up suffering from analysis paralysis… and end up missing out on a property they loved because they were over thinking things.”
2. Look at the whole space
If you’ve been to any open homes, you’ve probably noticed those people who open every cupboard and every drawer. Obviously storage is important, and you want to make sure you have enough wardrobe space, but taking a magnifying glass to every nook and cranny is not really necessary.
“It’s a good idea to look at the space as a whole.” Says Andrew “Some buyers fall into the trap of expecting to find a home that meets every single one of their criteria. It’s important to realise that it’s unlikely a property will meet all your expectations. But you can still find a home that you love.”
“What you should be doing, is trying to determine if you can see yourself living there. Can you imagine yourself cooking in the kitchen, entertaining guests in the backyard or watching a movie in the living room? Trust your instincts. If the property feels right for you, it probably is.”
3. Don’t forget the outside of the home
While you’re getting familiar with the interior, it’s important not to neglect the area outside the home. Obviously you should have a look at the gardens and the landscaping, but you should also have a look at the surrounding area.
It can be a good idea to take an extra 10 or 15 minutes to walk around the block and drive around the neighbourhood. This will give you a better idea of the location – how close you are to schools, shops and other amenities.
4. Read the building inspection report
It’s always a good idea to read the inspection report. A lot of buyers don’t have the knowledge or expertise to spot any potential issues, but the building inspection report will tell you everything you need to know.
“If there is anything you are concerned about on the building report, don’t be afraid to contact the building inspector.” Says Andrew. “They’ll be able to elaborate on their findings and explain things to you in more detail.”
5. Ask the agent questions
The agent is your direct connection to the seller. They’re going to have a lot of information on the property – you should take advantage of that resource.
They’ll be able to tell you about the home’s history, point out interesting features, give you an idea of the property’s ongoing running costs, and show you where renovations have been made, or inform you about zoning restrictions if you are planning on making renovations of your own.
Even if the property isn’t quite what you’re looking for, Andrew points out that the agent can still help you: “They’ll be able to suggest other properties that might suit your needs. They might also have information on properties that are for sale, but haven’t been placed on the market yet, giving you an opportunity to make an early offer.”
If you’d like more open home strategies or would like some advice on buying your next property contact your local Independent Property Group Office.