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Reap the benefits of open houses on the day

By George Hadgelias

Property inspections: lead with your head not your heart

From taking notes to going back to your favourite property with a friend, Cate Bakos, a Melbourne-based licensed real estate agent and buyers’ advocate, offers some top tips for reaping the benefits of open inspections on the day. 

Take notes

It’s important you stay true to your list of “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves”. It’s so easy to get swept away on the spot when you’re walking around a beautiful home, but try to keep a pragmatic approach and pay attention to the condition of the property, taking note of any major and/or pressing changes you’d need to make.

For some people, that feeling of ‘this is perfect and so me!’ can strike at the front door, while for others a property will grow on them and they’ll be looking to ‘tick all the boxes’. Whichever approach you veer towards, recording your thoughts is vital, so go to inspections armed with a notepad or jot things down on your smart phone. Most home-buyers are very good at recognising how a property makes them feel, but aren’t particularly great at remembering the key details of each property after going to several inspections, especially if you’re seeing a lot of places in one day.

Properties can be like wineries – after five, things start to blur!

Pay attention

Aside from focusing on your checklist, the condition of the property and its general appeal, you can glean a lot of information about the sale by paying close attention to the popularity of the inspection and any conversations had with the agent. Both will shed light on the degree of competition you may be up against. If you really like a property, ask the agent more about the campaign.

Often, the most important thing you can do is to offer the agent some friendly feedback. If you’re keen, it’s essential the agent knows this. Not all auction campaigns run through to auction day, and if an acceptable offer is received on a property, agents will call “interested parties”. Make sure your interest is noted if you want to stay in the loop.

If the property isn’t for you, again, let the agent know what you are looking for so they can keep you updated with suitable new listings and any off-market sales. Treat agents with respect and a smile and you’ll be remembered for all the right reasons.

Go back to your shortlist – and your top picks

A good day of inspections may uncover a property you want to buy, and a great day may find multiple eligible properties.

Before enthusiasm sweeps you off your feet, run through the contenders to make sure your “must haves” are met. You’ll then have your top contender/s and be ready to go onto the next step, which is usually a second inspection.

Second inspections offer a perfect opportunity to see if there’s anything vital you missed the first time round. Why not swing by the local coffee shop or walk around the neighbouring streets to get a feel for the area. You may also want to bring a friend, parent or builder for the second inspection for a fresh take on things.

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