There are some things that every home buyer should be thinking about on the open home trail.
The following tips will help you get a good indication of how much or how little you’ll need to spend on your new property after you’ve signed on the dotted line.
The roof over your head needs to be a good one
- It can be costly to replace or even patch a roof, so be sure to check its condition. Look for signs of leaks in the attic/roof space and ask when the roof was last replaced.
- Keep an eye out for rotten wood as this may be an indication that renovations will be required and these costs will need to be built into your budget.
- If you can spot any cracks in the guttering the property may not have good drainage. If you can, pop back on a rainy day so you can see how the guttering and roof perform, and that the property drains quickly.
- During the 1990s, a number of homes were built that could not withstand New Zealand weather conditions, so check that the property you are viewing is not one of them. There are a range of claddings associated with leaky homes so visit www.consumerbuild.org.nz for all the information.
Room by room
- In each room there will be specific things to check and some rooms will score higher than others. The kitchen might be celebrity chef worthy, while the bathroom is bordering on a health hazard. There will always be the need to compromise, but make sure you’re not compromising on key features that could end up costing you in the long term. Have a clear idea of what upgrades are urgent and necessary versus nice-to-have.
- In living areas, kitchens and bedrooms, check the wiring and ask how recently it’s been replaced. Do these rooms have enough sockets for all the devices and appliances we need to plug in these days? Look out for tell tale signs of mould. Kitchens can be particularly expensive to renovate so keep an eye out for anything that might be faulty. Check whether your own appliances will fit if you’re bringing them with you.
- In bathrooms, turn on the taps, turn on the shower, and flush the toilet. Lack of water pressure can indicate an issue with the property’s water heater. If you notice odd noises or strange smells, they could be a sign of plumbing problems. Check for bubbling paint or cracks which could mean water damage or dampness.
A warm home is a healthy home
A warm dry home is not just a nice-to-have, it’s essential for good health. Look at the insulation and note what kind of heating the house has. Is it positioned well in relation to the sun? Are windows double glazed? EECA have a good checklist of things to keep to an eye out for.
Your checklist is your friend
It’s hard to keep track of all the things you need to check, especially when you’re seeing one property after another, so keep a list. This handy checklist is a useful one to take with you on the open home trail so you can rate the rooms and make notes.
An inquisitive mind will pay dividends
Ask questions: This is a good place to get lists of questions to ask, as well as other checks to carry out when you’re at open homes. It’s also a good idea to have houses checked over by a professional builder - there is a small cost involved, but it could end up saving you more down the track.
Happy house hunting!
To keep your strength up on the trail, make sure you check out the local amenities – it’s always good to know where you can get a good coffee or a cold one nearby.