An open house or property inspection can go by several names – it’s also known as an ‘open home’, ‘open inspection’ and ‘open home inspection’.

Whatever you call it, it's an ideal opportunity to get a feel for a property and see for yourself whether it lives up to the marketing spiel and glossy photos.

What should you be looking for?

There’s a whole lot you can find out about a property, either by checking it out yourself in person during the inspection or asking the on-site real estate agent (or both).

Questions worth asking and issues worth checking for include:

  • What direction does the property face? Keep in mind a west-facing property may get very hot on summer afternoons, while a south-facing property could get chilly in winter.
  • Is there much natural light throughout the day?
  • Is there enough cupboard and wardrobe space?
  • Do the windows and doors open easily?
  • Is there mouldy, damp or rotting areas on the skirting boards, walls, ceilings or floorboards?
  • Has the property recently been painted?
  • How strong is the water pressure? Does the hot water come through quickly?
  • Is there evidence of rust or other damage in the pipes?
  • How old and big is the hot water system?
  • Are any of the light switches loose?
  • Do the roof, guttering or drain pipes look old or in need of replacing?
  • Are there any cracks in the interior or exterior walls? If they run long or deep, ask the real estate agent to flag them should you go ahead with a building inspection later on.
  • Is noise likely to be an issue from pedestrians, traffic or aircraft? It could be worth returning to the property at a different time in the day to see how much quieter – or noisier – it can become.
  • How much space does the property have from the neighbours? Are they likely to be noisy?
  • Are there any odd smells?
  • Is there a garage or assigned parking? If not, how easy will it be to park on the street and are there any restrictions?
  • Are there locks on all of the doors and windows?

You can print off and use this handy inspection checklist to make notes as you check out the property. Should you be happy it meets all or most of your expectations, be sure to take a look around the neighbourhood too.

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Things you should know

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice. As this information has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should, before acting on this, consider the appropriateness to your circumstances.