The best way to start things off is by going in prepared.
Before you leave to see the property, research it and the surrounding area using Google Street View. You’re not just buying a house; you’re also buying into the neighbourhood. So before going inside the property, switch on all your senses and take a good look around.
Pay attention to noises and smells; find out if the property is under a flight path or close to a main road. Is the home near a sewage treatment plant or rubbish tip?
The kitchen and the bathroom are the most important rooms in any property or at least the most expensive to update. If you smell mould or dampness in the bathroom look in the corners of ceilings for mould. While mould is easily removed, salt dampness or rising damp can be quite costly to fix. Look inside and out.
Outside, look for major cracks on the walls. If you see a crack inside, go to the corresponding wall outside as well. There could be structural issues if the crack goes all the way through. If it is a simple plaster crack, this is easier and cheaper to repair.
Buyers should not obsess over the colour of the house or type of carpet, as these can be updated easily. Similarly, the installation of an air conditioning unit can be set up later if you really want it.
What is very expensive to change is the size of the house. For example, if there are not enough bedrooms or you want two living areas, it’ll cost a lot to build later on. Request for as many document as possible. Get a brochure of the property with a floor plan, which you can look at more closely later and save the video so you can watch again.
It is important to know about the surrounding buildings. You have to know what structure is next door – is a house going to be built there?
Know what the parking situation is – this is more important than getting ensnared by stylist’s furniture.
Common buyer mistakes are committed when buyers don’t look enough and when they fail to notice the extra features that are naked to the eye or simply overlooked like insulation; solar power; under floor heating; alarm system; ducted air conditioning, vaccuming and even ducted music. Just to name a few.
Bottom line, an open inspection is done in a short period of time with many other people looking around besides you and the agent may not be able to point out all the features of the home. You can solve this by arranging for a private inspection.
- Go early on inspection day and be the last to leave, and go more than once.
- Make a list of five non-negotiable things.
- If you are a first-time buyer, go with someone who is more experienced than you.