Tips for Home Buyers: What to look for at an open for inspection


You have given up your precious Saturday morning sleep in to attend an open for inspection. To make sure you get the most out of the maximum 30 minutes that you can spend in a property, ensure you are prepared. Here are a few handy tips in knowing what to look for at an open for inspection:

Before you go:

  • Work out your non-negotiables. What features are a must have for your property, or what would you be willing to trade? For example, good light, large bedroom, low traffic noise, carpark, balcony or outdoor space may be your non-negotiables, whereas the overall size may be something you are willing to compromise on.

  • Research the property and the area. Look on Google Maps and street view to see where nearby amenities are such as transport, shops, schools and parks.

  • Plan your day. If you have more than one inspection to go to ensure you prioritise and schedule out your day so you can focus on the important features of the current property, instead of trying to find the next one. Also factor in travel time or pick suburbs that are neighbouring.

 While at the inspection:

  • Speak to the real estate agent. Ask all the important questions about the factors or the sale and features of the house. When was it built? What is the expected price? Is negotiation a possibility? Even why are the owners selling, and how long it has been on the market for, are key areas to understand.

  • Bring a pen to take notes. Use the open for inspection brochure to add your notes about features of the property that you like, dislike or that are missing. Ensure council rates, estimated rental and body corporate (if an apartment) are featured. Keep all your brochures together in order of priority throughout your search to compare and learn from.

  • Engage your senses. What can you see, hear and smell when you walk into the property? Note anything alarming such as smoke, dampness, traffic noise and poor lighting.

  • Check for dampness & mould. Check the entire home for any dampness, especially the kitchen and bathroom as these rooms are the most expensive to change. Look for bubbles in the paint and for crumbly mortar.

  • Check for hollow sounding floor boards. This may be a sign of termites in the subfloor and could require expensive restumping. Sagging ceilings or sloping floors are another sign to look for.

  • Check for cracks internally and externally. Observe the brick work both inside and outside the house, if a crack goes all the way through a structural issue may be the case and could be an expensive defect.

After the inspection, if you have further interest in the property:

  • Request the Section 32. Scan the contract for any extension or subdivision plans or council restrictions so you understand how you can or cannot add renovations to the property.

  • Revisit the property and surrounding areas. As well as having a second or third inspection of the property ensure you find out about the surrounding buildings and any plans for any development.

  • Organise a building and pest inspection. To avoid purchasing a lemon and having to repair expensive defects caused by rising damp, termites, or lack of maintenance, then consider requesting a building inspection report so you are 100% certain in what you are purchasing. To find out how we inspect your home for defects, read our blog.

For more information when booking a Building & Timber Pest inspection see our pricing page.