Part 3: Things to look for at the Open Home or your second viewing

March 25, 2015

When attending an open home, it is the seller’s opportunity to make the property inviting and a pleasurable experience where the visitor can see themselves living in the space.

When attending open homes, you can get lost in the experience and the awe of viewing another’s home. 

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.

Jenny of the MoneySavingExpert.com has provided a checklist to help support any person during a viewing. She has identified the following on her checklist. These could be spread over multiple viewings if you are serious about a property:[1]

 

  • Look for damp – make sure that walls, floors and the roof are free of damp, mould, and whether wall paper is peeling or there is condensation on the windows. If it smells musty, determine why.
  • Look up – look for cracks in the roof, stains, slow drips or leaks.
  • Open all the doors and windows – do they all open, without creaking?
  • Count and note the location of the power points – and ensure they work. Develop a floor plan and note the position of the power points in each room.
  • Pretend you’re a plumber – review all the plumbing to the naked eye and look for any moisture under drainage and sinks. Flush the toilet along with turning on all of the taps (including the shower) to determine that everything works and water is taken away through the drainage system.
  • Check the heat source – if looking at a home on a warm day, pay special attention to how the house is heated. Is it through fire, gas, electric heater/heat pump, or central heating? Each will have its advantages and disadvantages. Note if there are any cold areas in the house.
  • Check the locks and security – ensure that all locks on doors and windows are functional and will meet insurance requirements.
  • Look for sub-standard renovations – some sellers may have put a lick of paint on the walls to hide something they didn’t want to be seen. Keep an eye out for things that don’t write look right, and save potential time fixing issues in the future.
  • Pull back mats and rugs – you never know what a mat or rug could be hiding; stains, mould, dampness, and holes!
  • Phone reception – simply pull out your phone and check for service. Ask yourself if it is a big deal if the house is a mobile Bermuda triangle.
  • Check underneath the house or in the attic – to get a gauge on the standard of the woodwork and potential view of rot, cracks and holes that may impact upon the structural integrity of the house.
  • Take a walk around the exterior – walk around the house looking for areas where mould, cracks, rot and damp are present.
  • And finally, cook dinner – mimic how you would use the kitchen as you prepare a meal. Is there enough room to work within and are the location of appliances acceptable?

 

 

Additional Tips

Make notes

You may have an exceptional memory, but make notes of all of the areas above that don’t meet your expectations.

There are two reasons for this:

(1)    It provides you with a list of items that could be important for negotiating the price of the property,

(2)    It provides a list of things that you will expect to be rectified before taking over the property and/or a list of things that you will need to attend to when taking over property.

 

View the property at different times of the day and preferably in different weather conditions. You’ll pick up more if you are able to view the property in different contexts.

You will be able to see more flaws in the structure and aesthetics of the building in daylight, but would not know anything about the neighbours until you could hear their son’s band practicing in the garage at night.

By viewing in different weather conditions, you will also be able to see if there are any leaks or creaks in wet weather, and how much light gets into each room on both a wet or sunny day.

 

Think long term

If this is a house for the future, think about your tastes and your family status that will be in the home in the years to come. For example a modern one bedroom house or apartment might suit your current circumstances, but this type of home may be completely inappropriate if you plan to marry, have children or get a pet in the near future.

Our tastes also change over time, so make sure you’ll be able to live in a big turquoise villa or be willing to paint it if that’s what you like now!

 

 

Conclusion

If you’ve been following this series and you’ve carried out all of the actions to date and are still interested in a home, you’re ready to make an offer. In the next part of the series, part 4, we’ll look at the ins and outs around making an offer and the process you can expect to follow. 

Have you got any questions so far? We’re happy to answer any question you might have, so give the team at First Avenue a call or alternatively leave a comment below and we’ll be sure to get in touch and answer your questions.

 

 

Photo Credits

ant’s view, by Nirmal KF, CC BY 2.0

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