If you’re in serious buying mode, there’s a good chance you’ll be looking to attend a lot of open homes. This is great, but you need to think strategically. So here’s a home buyer’s checklist of things you might have missed at first glance.

  • Go on the first weekend: this buys you time to take another look or (if you like it).
  • Grouping homes into suburbs or neighborhoods: make life easy for yourself; you don’t need to run all over town if you plan.
  • Set reminders: it’s your dream property, but you got the date wrong – this isn’t a good look in the eyes of the real estate agent or vendor and means you could miss out.
  • Bring a pen: no matter how good your memory is, you’ll want to take notes as you go around each property you inspect. If the agent has brochures, take one – the more info, the better.


The area

Your scrutiny of the property’s suitability should start before you walk through the door.

On the way to the viewing, take in as much of the surrounding suburb as possible – does it look like somewhere that would offer what your family needs? We’d also recommend backing this up with suburb research and asking questions about the area at the viewing.


Try to arrive at the property early enough so you have time to check out the exterior. In particular, look at:

  • The parking options: does the house have off-street parking? If not, will there be room on the street for your vehicle(s), and what restrictions are in place?
  • Vegetation: will trees block the sunlight at certain times of the day? If there’s a garden, will it be hard to maintain?
  • The aspect: which way is the property facing? Along with vegetation, this will impact how much sun it gets and when.
  • Building materials: what is the property built from? Don’t forget to include the roof and any cladding used.
  • Gutters and drainage: look for any damage or blockages. Are plants growing into the gutters and drains?
  • Paths: are they in good nick? Will all members of your family be able to access the property easily?
  • Outside features: decks, lawns, chimneys, retaining walls – do they all look cared for?
  • Windows and paintwork: You’ll want to look for signs of cracking or rot with wooden window frames. Similarly, take a look at any paintwork for cracks.
  • The underneath: if the house has piles, assess these and any insulation. Feel for dampness, and use your nose – unwanted moisture can leave an unpleasant smell.


Once across the threshold, don’t be afraid to take your time and explore every nook and cranny of the house. In particular, look at:

    • The floors: Replacing a tired carpet is a big job, and damp patches are a red flag. You also want to judge whether the floors are level. If they aren’t and the house is in piles, you could have some serious work.
    • The plumbing: it can feel weird flushing toilets, turning on showers, and running taps, but do it. You’ll want to check the water pressure is consistently good and doesn’t drop off.
    • Insulation and ventilation: how is the property heated and cooled? Are the windows double-glazed?
    • Ceilings and walls: signs of sagging and mold can indicate serious issues with the property.
    • Gas and electrics: check outlets are working, and try the gas hobs. Look at the fuse box to see if it’s modern or outdated – rewiring a property is a big job.
    • Doors and windows and looking for dampness (these spots can be prime culprits), check all windows and doors close properly.
    • Storage: open cupboards and drawers, and check out the attic (if there is one) – you’re entitled to do this, and you need to be content that the property has adequate space.
    • The layout and room size: will the rooms be big enough for the furniture you plan to put in them? Do you have the functionality you need – e.g., office space if you work from home?
    • Appliances – If they are already included in the house, ensure they’re in good condition. They should be on and working while you’re there.
    • Under the Rugs – Lift any rugs to check the condition of the floor underneath.
    • Attic – If the house has one, ensure it’s well insulated.
    • Security: what alarm systems does the property have in place? Are they working? Also, we’d advise checking the locks on all doors and windows.
    • Water Spouts – Runoff from the gutters should be pointed away from the house, so take a step outside to see if this is the case.

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