Top 10 open home inspection tips
Owen Thomson takes us through some key tips for checking out properties at an open house.
1. Check for fresh paint
While a fresh coat here and there could have been added simply for presentation purposes, it could also be a sign that cracks caused by house movement have been disguised.
2. Open and close
Move any sliding or hanging windows up and down. Windows that fail to open and shut properly could also be a sign that the house has undergone movement.
3. Test the pressure
Turn the taps on to ensure that the water pressure is adequate. If it’s below par, expect to have to pay extra to have the home re-plumbed if you end up securing it.
4. Check the electricity meter
Make sure the home is equipped with a newer model complete with appropriate trip switches. A lot of older houses won’t have them, so bear in mind that this could also be an extra expense.
5. Sniff out any problems
Try and ascertain the presence of musty odors that could be an indication of rising damp or dry rot. Bear in mind that any plug-in smell deodorisers being used by the vendor could be intended to mask the problem.
6. Focus and fire safety
If the property shares a roof with another property, make sure the common roofline is fire rated. This will ensure that all adjoining properties won’t go up in smoke if one catches fire.
7. Be aware of the acoustics
Make sure that any shared walls are sound rated and that you’re not getting any noise bleeding through from the other side.
8. Ensure floor integrity
Look for any signs of unevenness or movement in the floor when you walk on it. Also ensure that beams and joists are in good order, especially in older houses.
9. Apply the tape measure
Don’t rely on real estate agents’ room measurements – always take your own. If you’re planning on transplanting your existing furniture, you’ll need to know if it all fits.
10. Ascertain water vulnerability
Take careful note of where the house sits. Is it on top of a hill or in the base of a valley or ravine? Is it on a flood plain? In short: is it vulnerable to a major rain or flood event?