Property inspections can be fun, right? Everyone loves to take a good old sticky beak into other peoples' homes and imagine your life there. It can be both an interesting and extremely exciting time. Right up until the fun and novelty wears off and you realise that it’s actually very time consuming to look at properties. Typically after the fifth house or so they can all start blurring into one and you’ve forgotten what the first house even looked like.
If you’ve ever been house hunting before, then you may be more prepared than a first timer, but there are some things that even an experienced property buyer may be overlooking every time they attend a property inspection. Here are five important things to keep in mind whilst inspecting properties and house hunting.
Don’t forget to do these things the next time you attend an open house:
1. Assess the property from the street - When inspecting properties stand out on the street and assess the property from across the road. Look at the street appeal and how the house fits in with the surrounding homes in the street. While you're out there, check the drainage in the street. This will give you an indication if there is a potential water/flooding problem. Also look up and check if there are any major overhead power lines. Power lines are not good for resale.
2. Scope out the area - Drive around the area. Check out the local shop. Stop and chat to the shop owners and the neighbours to get some honest feedback about the area. What is good about it, what is not so good? Can they tell you any thing specific about the property, street and/or suburb? You never know what handy information will come up in general chitchat.
3. Pick your timing - Visit the property at various times of the day and night to really get a feel for what it’s like to live there. If the property has a school nearby, visit just as school is finishing for the day. Also take a look again on weekends, at night, in the rain etc. Visiting at varying times may highlight potential issues, such as excess cars parking on the road after hours making it difficult to navigate through, or increased noise from kids coming and going from school. These are not necessarily bad things, but the more you know about the property, the more informed your decisions will be.
4. Take photos - Don’t forget to grab your camera and take photos of the property while you're there. This will take a lot of pressure off having to remember everything, as you’ll then be able to go back and check the photos later. This is particularly handy if you're looking at a few houses in one day. Can’t remember what the flooring was in the second house or if the third house had a bath? Check the photos. A handy tip is to take a photo of the letterbox before you enter a property so you can distinguish which images were from each house.
5. Buddy up to the agent - When I'm out inspecting properties, I often see people enter the home and take a look around and then leave without speaking to the agent or leaving their details. Sure, if you don’t leave your details you won’t receive unwanted spam emails or unnecessary phone calls but if you're a serious buyer this is the worse thing you could do. You should always strike up a conversation with the agent and leave your contact details.
Ask the agent as many questions as you can about the property and make it clear to them exactly what you're looking for. Also request that they call you as soon as a suitable property becomes available and make sure to follow up with the agent after the inspection to remind them who you are and what you're looking for.
When it comes to open homes, the key is to be prepared and make the most of your time while on site. The more information you can collect on the property the better informed you'll be and the more confidence you’ll have when it comes time to making the right purchase decision.
Katie Marshall is an Interior Designer, Project Manager, Property Investment Advisor, Author and founder of Chicks and Mortar. Chicks and Mortar provides property education to women empowering them to make smart property choices. Find out more at chicksandmortar.com.au or buy the Chicks and Mortar the book here.
Homely is a new way to search for real estate for sale and properties to rent in Sydney. Homely incorporates beautiful design and community engagement, to create an enjoyable and simple experience that helps you find a new home quickly.
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