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The ultimate time-busting property viewing checklist

Bird checking out a nest

The home buying and selling game is forever changing. Semigration and investors buying a property from across the country are some of the factors driving a significant shift in the way buyers are viewing homes, and making their buying decisions.

More and more buyers are relying on photos, video walkthroughs and even 3-d technology or live on shows when making a final purchasing decision says Bruce Swain, CEO of Leapfrog Property Group, cautioning against this approach stating that online home viewing aids like videos and photos can never be seen as a replacement for viewing a property in person.

This is how to shop for a home across the country

A buyer would have done research on the area or suburb they are looking at before starting the search for a property, and online home viewings definitely significantly decreases the list of properties to seriously consider but Swain raises a very valid point; you need to invest time (and money if travelling from another city or province) before making a final buying decision.

However, the fact remains time is money and having a checklist of things to look out for when viewing a property you are serious about definitely can save you both time and money at the end of the day.

Top tip: Take special notice of any neglected maintenance while touring the property. Small things like grout that needs to be replaced could indicate that other regular maintenance has also been neglected.

Swain’s quick “4 key areas” viewing checklist

four angles to a decision

If there is nothing else you have time for, it is essential that you, or your proxy, carefully look at the following four main areas of the home before submitting an offer.

#1 The kitchen

The kitchen is always a must see as renovating this area, and the bathroom, tends to be the most expensive. Buyers need to have a look at the finishes in the kitchen as well as opening cupboards and looking at the ceiling to see if there are any damp spots.  A musty smell, warped paint and mould are all signs that there could be problems with the insulation and/or plumbing.

#2 The bathroom

Key elements to check-off in the bathroom include the finishes, opening the taps to see what the water pressure is like, and to ask about the state of the geyser and the plumbing. Remember to test the hot water to ensure that the geyser is working properly.

Top tip: Don’t be too polite to ask the agent the tough or uncomfortable specific questions. Get as much information as possible before making an offer, especially if there seems to be cause for concern.

#3 Common areas

When walking around lift up area rugs where possible to ensure that they’re not covering damaged flooring. This is particularly important in coastal areas as this could help to identify damage caused by wood boring beetles.

How to be a home inspector on show day

#4 The outside

It’s important to take a walk not just through the property, but around it as well. Most properties will have small cracks in the plaster which are not a problem, however any large cracks need to be queried as these could point to problems with the actual structure.

A walk around the property will also allow you to examine the roof (if possible, if not ask detailed questions about leaks and if there’s concern, include a suspensive condition in this regard – subject to a professional inspection). Look at the state of the gutters, window frames (check for rot if they’re wooden, rust if they’re metal) and the landscaping.

Top tip: A well-tended garden shows a level of care and the chances are good that the rest of the property is well cared for too.

While it’s impossible to identify all potential issues during a viewing, ticking off this checklist will go a long way to ensuring that the buyer knows what they’re getting and can negotiate with the seller to correct and patent defects as part of the sales agreement.

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