John McGrath – What to look for at Opens this Spring
If you’re heading out into the market this Spring, you’re going to see a lot of homes for sale. Very soon, it will become hard to remember the best and worst features of each one.
That’s why I recommend creating an inspection notebook to record information about all the homes you inspect.
You can do this the old-fashioned way with a notepad and pen, or alternatively, use your phone or iPad to capture all the details.
First, look around and get a feel for the property. If you like it, that’s when it’s worth taking detailed notes.
Obviously, all the basic details are included in the property’s online advertising and the brochure you’ll walk out of there with, so you can access all that information later.
At the open, you have limited time to take notes, so look beyond the basics for now.
Here are the important things to note at opens
• General condition of the property
• Notes on the layout
• Aspect and amount of natural light
• Any noise or pollution issues
• Any repairs or renovations needed
• Any potential to extend or reconfigure the layout
• What you really like about the property
• What you really dislike about the property
• The price guide
If you’re serious about the property, I strongly recommend you get a professional building and pest inspection done. But if you know what to look for, you can identify obvious defects at the open yourself.
Some issues are relatively easy to fix, so it’s important not to view all problems as dealbreakers. But if you identify any major problems, it may be best to give the property a miss. At the very least, you’ll save yourself the cost of a building report.
Here are some signs of obvious defects
• Sagging floors or moving floorboards can indicate issues with the stumps or bearers
• Dark stains around the skirting boards can indicate rising damp
• Wall cracks can indicate shifting foundations
• Weak water pressure can indicate plumbing problems – turn on taps!
• A sagging roofline can indicate old roofing or trusses that need replacing
• Ceiling stains can indicate water leaks
Also, keep an ear out for what other buyers are saying about the property at the inspection. They may have seen something you’ve missed.
Outside the property, take a walk around the immediate location and sit outside in your car at different times of the day and night. Assess the street parking situation, especially if it’s an inner city property.
It’s also a good idea to find out who your neighbours are going to be, especially if you’re buying an apartment.
If you spend a little bit of time around the property, it will be easy to meet the locals.
It’s amazing what you can pick up on the grapevine. You might find out about local traffic conditions, problem neighbours, noise issues and proposed developments.
Most importantly while at the open, don’t be afraid to ask questions. The agent is there to help you.
Simple questions can reveal issues that you hadn’t thought of previously. It’s better to ask lots of questions than be saddled with a home with a whole lot of problems.
Next week, I’ll give you a list of specific things to ask the agent before making an offer.