23 January 2019

Become an open home pro: Tips for making the most of your visits

You’re in the market for your first home and could be about to spend a heck of a lot of money on a house you’ve had less than 30 minutes to look at. So how can you make the most of your open home visits to get as much value out of them as possible?

To prep for open home visits:

  • Ask your family and friends what they think are vital things to look for – you’ll get a range of ideas from people of different ages and life stages.
  • Learn the lingo. Chat to friends or colleagues at work (great water cooler conversation) who have bought a home to learn about terms that you might hear being discussed, like ‘piles’, ‘Insul-Fluff’ and ‘soffits’…
  • Download the open home checklist from govt.nz and study that over your pre-open home caffeine fix.

At an open home, have a good look around and don’t be afraid to turn on things like taps and lights – you’ll want to be sure the water pressure in the shower is OK and the fixed lighting is sufficient.

Given there’s so much to check, a good way to cover all bases is to look high, middle and low.

  • Look high to consider things like the state of the roof, guttering and eaves (this is where you may look at the soffits) and ceilings.
  • Look at eye-level for possible rushed fixes and repairs on walls and in wardrobes. What are the state of the doors and windows? Can you see into neighbouring homes and vice versa?
  • Look down to inspect the floor and consider whether it is faring well or showing signs of disrepair. Look at the grounds, gardens and drainage outside.

Use ALL your senses at an open home. Note any smells that could indicate dampness or a previous flood. Tune your ears into what the neighbourhood noise is like. And in general, note how it feels. Is it warm, cold, draughty or stuffy? Consider where the sun will come in morning, noon and evening. If it leaves a pleasant taste in your mouth, then research the place further. You could well be on to something sweet.   

Since you can visit an open home more than once, go back as many times as you need to. It’s also a good idea to visit at different times of the day so you can see where the sun hits the house throughout the day.

To learn more about what’s involved in buying a home, download our helpful guide on Purchasing your first home.

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