For first home buyers, knowing what to look out for in a house can be overwhelming, particularly at a busy open home swarming with other potential buyers.
Here are a few essential questions for first home buyers to ask:
1. "What’s that stain?"
We’re not talking a red wine stain on the beige carpet - you’ll probably do that yourself at the house warming, let’s be honest - but rather stains in the walls and ceilings.
This may be a sign that all is not as watertight as it should be and that, in turn, could indicate some major, expensive issues. There can be untold amounts of water damage in the walls, not to mention the toxic mould that could be lurking in the house.
2. "What’s that smell?"
While some homes may carry a scent more pleasant than others, there are some smells that should really get your attention.
Chemical smells, for instance, may indicate the house has been used as a methamphetamine (P) lab and needs to be tested and potentially decontaminated. If the tests prove positive, you can either land yourself an absolute bargain post-contamination, or you may choose to run for the hills and buy there instead.
3. "What’s… that?"
If something major looks out of place, like an extension built with bamboo poles or a tin shed sleepout with a gas stove and clearly homemade bathroom, then it probably shouldn’t be there and won’t have consent.
This could spell trouble further down the track with your local council, so always enquire first about any suspicious additions or outbuildings.
4. "What’s that crack?"
Buying a house with some level of earthquake or earth subsidence damage, however beautiful it is, could end up being an insurance nightmare.
If you’re buying in an area that’s recently had earthquakes, be sure to go over any house you want to buy with a fine-tooth comb, checking for any cracks or uneven floors or walls.
You may need expensive structural engineer’s reports to satisfy your insurance company, and that may just break your budget more than your heart.
5. Just ask
Real estate agents are obliged to inform you of any issues or problems with a property which they know about. At an open home, you’re well within your right to get your detective on and needle the agent for that sort of information.