What to look for at an open inspection

First Home Buyers

15 Nov 2021

| Home Loan

So you’re ready to start looking for a home. You’ve got your deposit and your pre-approval sorted, so now the fun really begins! Real estate websites are great at making houses look desirable online, but actually seeing a house can sometimes tell a different story.

The automatic instinct at an open house is to check the kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms, but there are many critical areas that some people overlook.


Things to consider

Most people can spot the big issues when attending an open house – dodgy wall repairs, water stains on the ceiling, outdated electrics, cracked walls, etc. – but here are some extra things to look for that you may not have thought of: 

The hidden spaces

Take a closer look at the parts of the home often covered up, or neglected. Open closets and built-in wardrobes to see how much space they provide. Don’t be afraid to move any rugs or look behind wall hangings for any covered damage or flaws. 

The house’s exterior

Make sure you take a walk around the outside of the house; you may be surprised by what you find. Has maintenance been neglected? How does the paint look, is it fresh or chipping? What’s the condition of the gutters, eaves, and fences? Does the roof have any tell-tale signs of disrepair? Sellers who disregard exterior maintenance are likely to do the same inside.

The layout

Do rooms feel spacious and well-laid-out? Consider your lifestyle and how you will use each room. The kitchen is a big part of many people’s homes and is usually the hub when entertaining. Is the area open and inviting? Can family and friends lounge nearby? The way one room opens to the next is an important consideration when you’re trying to make the most of the space you have.

The neighbourhood

Keep in mind that when you buy a house you’re also buying into the surrounding neighbourhood. It’s a good idea to take a stroll down the nearby streets and get a feel for the area. Be sure to pay attention to traffic speeds, the condition of other homes, and what sort of shops and transport links are nearby. 

The neighbours

Everybody needs good neighbours and when you buy a house you’re getting the neighbours too; it’s a package deal. Make sure to scope out the homes on either side and out the back. You may think “out of sight, out of mind”, but that rule doesn’t apply if they have dogs that bark all day. It’s worth asking the real estate agent if they can shed any light on the neighbours. 

Privacy

Does the bedroom window give you a view into your neighbour’s bathroom? If you wanted to entertain out the back, are there any multistorey homes peering into your party? Privacy is definitely worth considering, but the good news is that a few tall hedges could be a simple solution.


Talk to the agent

The agent is your connection to the seller, so make sure you take advantage of this resource. Ask for a history of the home, find out how many owners the house has had, how long the house has been on the market, and why the owners are selling. If the owners want to move because the schools are terrible, or the neighbour practices drums in the middle of the night, the agent isn’t likely to tell you. But ask this question anyway and look for hesitation from the agent, or a story that seems half-baked.


Take someone with you

Two sets of eyes are better than one, and your partner, friend, or parent can help you spot things that you could have missed. An experienced home buyer could be invaluable when attending open inspections, especially if they aren’t emotionally invested in your decision. Their objectivity will mean they may pick up things that you overlooked, because you’re too excited about how big the backyard is.

Open inspections are great to get first-hand information on prospective properties, and allow you to ask questions and listen, but make sure you don’t give away more than you want known about your current situation. Be discreet about your finances and how much you may love the home; it’s likely to benefit you when it comes time to make an offer.


$5,000 First Home Buyers Grant

We understand how hard it can be for first home buyers to get into the property market.

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This is general advice only and doesn’t take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Conditions, fees and lending criteria apply and are available on request.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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Currently the South Australian Government’s First Home Owners Grant is only available for people who are buying or building a new residential property.

Credit Union SA’s $5,000 First Home Buyer’s Grant is available when you borrow at least $250,000 to purchase or build a first home with a loan to value ratio (LVR) over 80%.


Lending criteria, fees and conditions apply. Offer is current as at 23/04/2018 and is subject to change. Minimum loan $250,000 to purchase or build a first home with a loan to value ratio over 80%. All loans that are eligible for the First Home Buyers Grant will be subject to pay Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance. To be eligible, applicants must not have previously owned residential property in Australia. Available to natural persons only (i.e. not a trustee or a company).

There are two ways you can choose to receive your First Home Buyers Grant from Credit Union SA:

  1. Have it paid into an account of your choice after settlement. Please note the grant cannot be accessed prior to settle for new complete or established homes. If you are constructing, the grant will be paid on confirmation that the foundation has been poured.
  2. Choose to have it applied directly towards the settlement of your property purchase, or when constructing, the grant is paid when the foundation is poured.

Credit Union SA’s $5,000 First Home Buyer’s Grant is available when you borrow at least $250,000 to purchase or build a first home with a loan to value ratio (LVR) over 80%.


Lending criteria, fees and conditions apply. Offer is current as at 23/04/2018 and is subject to change. Minimum loan $250,000 to purchase or build a first home with a loan to value ratio over 80%. All loans that are eligible for the First Home Buyers Grant will be subject to pay Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance. To be eligible, applicants must not have previously owned residential property in Australia. Available to natural persons only (i.e. not a trustee or a company).

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