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5 strategies for buyers looking to get the most out of an open home

June 12, 2019

Open homes are a vital part of finding a house. They're your opportunity to experience first-hand a property you’ve only seen in pictures. Your chance to learn more about the property that could become your future home.

We spoke with award-winning real estate agent and auctioneer Andrew Potts, from Independent’s Gungahlin Office, to get his tips on how to get the most out of attending an open home.

1. Have a plan
Before you start looking at property, make a list of all the things you need in your new home. This will help you narrow down the properties to just the ones that meet your requirements.

According to Andrew “If you plan well, you should be able to see all the available properties, that suit your needs and your budget, in the location you want to live in, within 2 to 4 weeks. This will give you an excellent feel for what is in the market right now.”

Taking notes while you are in the property also helps, but it's important to actually experience the property.

“While you’re at the property it can sometimes be useful to take notes, but it’s much more important to get a feel for the home. A lot of buyers who take copious notes on several different properties can suffer from analysis paralysis… and end up missing out on a property they loved because they were over thinking things.”

2. Look at the whole space
If you’ve been to open homes in the past you might have noticed those people. You know the ones we are talking about; those detail obsessed buyers who open every cupboard and every drawer. Obviously storage is important, and you want to make sure you have enough wardrobe space, but by taking a magnifying glass to every nook and every cranny you are kind of missing the point.

“Some buyers fall into the trap of expecting to find a home that meets every single one of their criteria. It’s unlikely a property will meet all your expectations, but you can still find a home that you love.” says Andrew

What really matters is the entire space and how you feel inside it.

“What you should be doing, is trying to determine if you can see yourself living there. Can you imagine yourself cooking in the kitchen, entertaining guests in the backyard or watching a movie in the living room? Trust your instincts. If the property feels right for you, it probably is.”

3. Don’t forget the outside of the home
While you’re getting familiar with the interior, don't forget the area outside the home. Obviously, you should have a look at the gardens and the landscaping, but you should also have a look at the surrounding area.

"It can be a good idea to take an extra 10 or 15 minutes to walk around the block and drive around the neighborhood." says Andrew

"This will give you a better idea of the location – how close you are to schools, shops and other amenities."

4. Read the building inspection report
It’s always a good idea to read the inspection report. A lot of buyers don’t have the knowledge or expertise to spot any potential issues, but the building inspection report will tell you everything you need to know.

“If there is anything you are concerned about on the building report, don’t be afraid to contact the building inspector.” Says Andrew.

“They’ll be able to elaborate on their findings and explain things to you in more detail.”

5. Ask the agent questions
The agent is your direct connection to the seller.

They have a lot of information on the property, so be sure to take advantage of that resource.

Even if the property isn’t quite what you’re looking for, Andrew points out that the agent can still help you.

“They’ll be able to suggest other properties that might suit your needs. They might also have information on properties that are for sale, but haven’t been placed on the market yet, giving you an opportunity to make an early offer.”

If you’d like more open home strategies or would like some advice on buying your next property contact your local Independent office.

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