Attending an open home is an essential part of finding the right home. But don’t get caught up with whether the paint colour suits your furniture and decor, there’s more to look for than just whether you love or hate the interior or the garden.
It is as important to check the building itself, as it is to ensure things like the layout of the kitchen and whether there are enough bedrooms. If you’re serious about buying the property it is better to be thorough and carry out a few simple checks while at the open home. It can make the difference between buying your dream house or a money pit!
At go go conveyancing, we feel that once you are serious about purchasing a property it is also important to have a qualified building inspector check the property, if you don’t know any reputable building inspectors ask your conveyance or solicitor if they can recommend one.
But for the initial inspection when you are trying to decide if this is the property for you, this list will hopefully help you look for potential problems, and help you decide if you want to go further with your plan to purchase.
10 signs to check for at an open home – suggestions by a Conveyancer
Are there any water stains or corrosion to the walls or floors backing onto wet ares. i.e. showers, baths, toilets and laundries? All cupboards and cabinets should be opened to detect if there is a smell of damp, mould and mildew. Any damp smells can be an indication of water leaks or even rising damp.
Try to look at the walls and floors backing onto these areas for any signs of moisture penetration or water leaks. This is not a structural defect but can be a costly maintenance item for repair.
Is there any evidence of mould in the bathrooms or bedrooms?
Mould can just look like dirty clouds on the walls and ceilings, especially if they have been recently cleaned. Mould has to be cleaned by professional mould remediation companies and can be quite expensive to have removed. Plus there is the question of what is causing the mould. Is it something more sinister than just poor housekeeping?
Look at the floors, walls and ceilings to see if they are fixed firmly flush in place and do not have a ‘parachute’ (bowed or sagging?) appearance. This can be done by shining a torch across the ceilings, as this will show up all deflections and defects in the ceiling sheets.
Doors and windows should open freely, catch and lock as required.
The internal and external walls should be visually checked to note any large wall cracks. Cracks that are greater than 2.0mm in width or buildings with excessive cracking can be cause for concern and should be further inspected by a qualified building inspector.
Is there adequate water pressure? Do the drains clear freely or are they slow and gurgle? Both of these problems could be a simple or otherwise an expensive fix by a plumber.
Plastering on the internal walls can be checked for fine hairline cracks (map cracking, as they take on the appearance of a map). These cracks are typically caused by the incorrect application of the wall plastering at the time of construction. The cracking plaster can crack further and even come loose, especially when wall fixings for paintings are installed.
Look up the lines of the roof from the exterior if possible to check if they are straight and free from deflections. Are there cracked or missing tiles? Are the roof sheets rusted?
The roof gutters may look great from ground level but if checked from their top side they may be very corroded and soon require replacement. This can be hard to check yourself so you may need to ask a building inspector to check this one for you.
- Check the roof downpipes are sloping to a downpipe and that downpipes are running to storm water drains properly and aren’t blocked.
Do a quick walk around the external perimeter of the house to check that all roof downpipes are discharging into stormwater drains and not just discharging onto the ground. You should also look for any signs of past flooding or excess water flow around the roof downpipe bases as this can be an indication that the stormwater pipes are not suitably sized or are blocked, which can be costly, as can installing new ones. Does the ground slope away from the building or does water pool up against the building? Water should not pond near or under a building as this can cause serious structural problems.
This item is important for multi-story buildings. There should be small holes evident above and below window and door frames and along the suspended slab levels. The holes will usually be spaced approximately 1200mm apart. These holes allow condensation/water to escape from the wall cavity . Without these holes, water can penetrate the internal walls of the home caused ongoing and expensive maintenance.
Remember, go go conveyancing recommend that you get a professional in to give a detailed report for peace of mind. Ask your conveyancer, solicitor or real estate agent for a list of reputable inspectors in your area. Purchasing a property is an investment so you want to make sure it is a wise one!
Make it easy, make it go go!