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Your Essential Guide to Navigating Open Homes: What to Look for When Buying a Property

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When it comes to purchasing a property, open homes play a crucial role in the buying process. They provide allocated times for buyers to explore the property, assess its size and ambiance, and determine whether it meets their requirements as a potential home or investment.

But what should you specifically focus on during your visit? Here's a brief guide on what to look for at an open home.

The significance of an open home: Open homes offer the first opportunity to physically visit a property of interest. They allow you to wander through the space, evaluate its size, understand the layout, and envision what it would be like to live there. Additionally, they enable you to assess the property's condition, identify any necessary repairs or modifications, and determine if it aligns with your needs.

If you're interested, you may revisit the property at a later open home or schedule a private inspection. You can also arrange necessary checks like pest and building inspections. In the meantime, here's a quick checklist of things to observe during an open home:

  1. Property direction: Consider the direction the property faces, as it significantly influences the living experience. East-facing properties generally enjoy morning sun, while west-facing ones receive afternoon light. Depending on the location, the property may also catch refreshing breezes at certain times of the year.

  2. Natural light: Take note of the amount of natural light the property receives and when it is most prominent. Consider whether it's in the morning, afternoon, or throughout the day. Ample natural light is often a desirable feature.

  3. Cupboards and storage: Evaluate the available storage space, particularly the cupboards and their locations. Sufficient storage allows for a neat and organized home, which is especially important for families or individuals with hobbies that require extra space for materials or equipment.

  4. Interior condition: Use the open home as an opportunity to thoroughly assess the property's interior condition. Look for any signs of structural issues, persistent problems like mold, cracks in walls, signs of dampness, or wood rot. These may indicate underlying larger issues.

  5. Exterior condition: Similarly, examine the exterior condition of the property, including balconies, patios, decking, and pools. Look up and assess the roofing and gutters, considering any immediate or near-future maintenance or repairs that may be required.

  6. Water and hot water: Often overlooked, but crucial, assess the water pressure and check the hot water system during the open home. Insufficient water pressure could indicate plumbing problems, while an aging hot water system might need replacement soon. In semi-rural properties, determine whether the property has access to town water or relies on rainwater tanks. Assess the condition of the tanks and the water pump if tank water is the primary source.

  7. Parking: Consider the parking situation. Does it meet your needs? Off-street parking is highly desirable in busy city suburbs, while secure undercover parking is essential for individuals with car collections.

  8. Noise considerations: Pay attention to the surrounding noises during your visit. Listen for road noise, overhead planes, nearby trains, or any unexpected ambient sounds that might affect your comfort in the property.

  9. Neighbors: Finally, evaluate the neighborhood and proximity to neighbors. Consider the neighboring properties and their potential views into the property you're interested in. Remember that neighbors play a significant role in the overall living experience, so it's important to consider their presence and the dynamics of the neighborhood.

By keeping these factors in mind, you can make a more informed decision when assessing properties at an open home.


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