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View our Open Home Guide below to discover the key things to look for when attending an open home, the key questions to ask the salesperson, and what to look for.
Let’s address the key things to plan for before attending an open home. Good planning ensures that the buying decision provides no hidden repercussions for you and your loved ones.
We would advise that you attend a number of open homes that have the listed characteristics that you, your spouse and/or your family want in a house. Be selective and concentrate your energies on viewing properties that you want from the outset, not just those that you will settle for. For example, if four bedrooms is going to be a deal breaker, why would you consider a three bedroom home? (Unless it has the ability to extend or an office that could be converted).
The work starts before you even get to the property. Scour the local real estate pamphlets, brochures, newspapers and highlight the properties of interest.
If you have the time, take a drive around the neighbourhood of potential properties. Is it close to amenities and schools (if this is important to you)? Do the neighbours and the street look tidy? Is there junk strewn through properties in the area?
You may see from a quick look around the surrounding properties that though the home you want is amazing, the actual location isn’t – this will impact upon your desire for the house, what you are willing to pay, and of course what a potential future resale could be if you did purchase and looked to sell on in the future.
One of the most cost-effective ways to get an understanding of a property and the neighbourhood is to ask a current resident! If you are able to talk to owners/renters of a property down the road, you are more likely to get honest feedback about the area and the property you are looking at.
Of note and consideration is the asking of opinions of the direct neighbours of the property. While it is possible that you will get tip-offs about the property, it is possible that bias feedback comes from these quarters due to the friendship they hold with the seller or alternatively that they are just anxious to see the back of them.
When attending open homes, don’t get lost in the holistic, keep in mind the little things that will make the property a safe and enjoyable home for you.
Take a look around the property and determine if it is one you could potentially want to own. If the property on the surface is ticking the right boxes, it’s time to ask some big questions.
The aim of questioning the salesperson is to gain as much information as you can and make an informed decision on whether to make an offer, and at what level that offer should be (assuming you can meet the expectations of the seller).
This may lead onto further questions due to the age i.e. if it is an older house you may ask further questions around when was it last re-wired, what renovations have been made, how old is the hot water cylinder and when was it last replaced (the life expectancy of modern copper or stainless steel cylinders is 20-40 years, but mains pressure glass-lined steel can be shorter at 12-20 years. The newer the house, the likelihood that these additional types of questions are irrelevant.
Asking this question, you get an understanding on what the competition is like and the salesperson is likely to state if previous offers have been made and declined, and possibly an indication of the price (range) expectation that the vendor is seeking.
The longer a property is on the market, will tell you two things: one, the market isn’t willing to meet the sellers expectations (some room to move and a potential bargain); or two, that the seller’s motivations to sell are not urgency based and that they are happy to be in the market until the ‘right’ buyer comes along.
Much like the above question, you’ll be able to determine the demand a market for the property and get an indication on an acceptance price.
This may be self-explanatory if a single or double-garage is present, but if nothing exists, it is important to know off-street parking exists.
An important question if your new property has a fireplace. If it doesn’t, how else is the home heated. And if it hasn’t been tested for a period of time, it may be something that is negotiated or alternatively you will know needs to be carried out when you move in and want to use it.
The last thing a salesperson wants to offer up is that there was a murder in the house three weeks ago! But is important to know as it will put some buyers off, while others may see a bargain. You can also do a Google search on the address and see if this picks anything up in the search results.
This will identify everything that will come with the house but more importantly provide you with a list of things you may need to purchase once moved in or what can be a point of bargaining when it comes to negotiation. For example, you may want a spa pool where one currently sits and it would be easier to purchase with the property rather than purchase new and have it installed; or the 60 inch television that currently sits on the wall of the lounge.
This question should not replace a builder’s report and/or LIM report.
This is a leading question to determine if any previous disputes with the neighbours have been had or whether the vendor has had previous discussions with neighbours about development and what the outcome of those discussions have been.
Owning a home is a keystone of wealth… both financial affluence and emotional security.Suze Orman