Open homes are a crucial part of the property research process. With so much to look at, check and double check, it can become overwhelming. We've got ideas to make your life easier (and a little less stressful) when you step through the door of your next open home.
Get your home loan pre-approved before the open home, to help the process run smoothly when you find a property you want to make an offer on. You can do this through your bank or mortgage broker. This will give you a clear idea about how much you will be able to borrow and your deposit requirements. Consider your budget and know your financial cut-off point before attending an open home.
Research KiwiSaver and your eligibility for a HomeStart Grant because these processes take time. If you’re considering buying a property using either, or both of these methods, you must meet certain requirements to access these funds. For example, your KiwiSaver funds can only be used for a first home, not an investment property or second home. You must also regularly contribute towards KiwiSaver for three years before you’re entitled to a HomeStart grant and KiwiSaver first home withdrawal, so it's good to get these processes underway nice and early.
Have a checklist ready before you arrive at the open home, so you know what you're looking for. Checklists can reduce stress and ensure you don’t miss anything on your "must-have" list. If you plan a checklist before you arrive, you can make it specific to your lifestyle; you may need a bath for children or a fully fenced yard for pets. A checklist will ensure plumbing, water pressure, visible water damage and heating systems aren't overlooked too. Our Property Brokers checklist is a great starting point and includes the little things that may go unnoticed like checking all power points work and checking for strange smells.
Be on time so you have ample time to view the property and ask questions. Open homes are often limited to 30 minute slots, so allow yourself enough time to view the property and ask the sales consultant questions - remembering there are often several other people lining up to do the same. By being on time you can beat the rush, meet the sales consultant, get their contact details, understand what’s included in the sale, and view the whole property thoroughly.
Get the sales consultants contact details, especially if you walk through the open home and decide you might consider making an offer. The open home is merely a quick glance at the property and if you like what you see, chances are you’ll have further questions. Having contact details handy prevents the inconvenience of having to hunt them down later. Once a sales consultant has your details, they can also provide you with other real estate options that may suit your requirements.
Take notes which can be referred to at a later date. Jot down notes throughout your walk through and also include question you may need to ask the sales consultant before you leave. For example, how old is the dwelling? What materials are used? Do the sheds have council consent? These can all impact the big decision. The Property Brokers checklist provides you with plenty of space for notes and comments. If you want to take a photo to refer to after the open home, be sure to check with the sales consultant first. Visual reminders can be a great point of reference but professional photos will likely be available online.
Have your support team with you. A few sets of eyes can help offer some perspective on the things you may not have considered yet. Friends, family or industry experts will provide you with different advice, knowledge and notes from the open home, which could prove to be very constructive. Working together and comparing notes can help form a bigger picture and a better understanding of the property.
Want to know what to look for at your next open home viewing? Check out our free checklist here!