Never judge a book by its cover. This is certainly true for books, and also for houses too. After all, who would buy one having never seen more than the front door? We’re in the midst of the season for selling houses, and open inspections are the perfect opportunity to get a good look at all the pages – so here’s how to take full advantage of the time you have.
Use your senses
Smell, see, listen and feel as much as possible. Your senses may be able to pick up tiny details of the house that other people would miss on an initial look. See that crack in the wall? It could mean structural issues. Or that damp smell coming from the kitchen? There could be mould in the house. Feel and hear that clattering underneath you when the water is running? Maybe there are serious plumbing issues.
Don’t be distracted by the bling
Everyone is an expert at styling houses since watching The Block or scrolling through Instagram, so don’t fall for the cushions and lamps. When you’re buying property, you’re buying the sausage. Not the sizzle. So make sure you take a good look at the size and shape of the actual rooms, and the placement of them across the floor plan. Imagine how you will really use it.
Lift your noses up from the brochure of the house, and check out the roof on the way in. Make note of the ceilings in the rooms too. Spot any damp patches or leaks? These could be costly and hard to fix issues.
Kitchen and bathrooms
If these two rooms aren’t how you would like them to be, then are you prepared to either live with it, or spend the money needed to transform them? Kitchen renovations in Australia have an average cost of $10,000 to $32,000, and that is only when the room doesn’t need any structural renovations… Bathrooms can be upwards of $10,000, too. To know what you might be in for, check out the Archicentre Cost Guide.
Look beyond the boundaries of the property
Who, or what, are your neighbours? Have a look at the location at different times across the day and week, as sounds and smells may differ greatly. What’s the noise like from the road? Are you right underneath a window-rattling flight path? Is there a bar across the road that only operates at night? If you have kids, or they’re on your cards in the future, what are the local schools like? Make sure you check out both primary and secondary schools. What is the local crime rate? What is the community like in the street? Do your research beyond the boundaries of the property so you’re truly informed.
Ask lots of questions to avoid unwanted surprises in the future
What is the price for utilises each month? Because that beautiful window in the living room may let in lots of light and open up the space, but it can also let in drafts in Melbourne’s cool winters – really bumping up the cost of bills each month. Check in on the history of the property too – has it had any previous repairs or renovations? It’s always good to have a history – just in case.
Have a pre-purchase building inspection
It may surprise you, but many houses are bought and sold without a building inspection. Home inspectors are trained to find the flaws in a home – ones that you may either never see, or never see as a problem.
Before you start looking at homes, get in touch with 40 Forty to help guide you in the direction of buying a house, with a loan that suits you.