Viewing open homes is rather like a one-sided version of speed dating. House and apartment buyers spend Saturdays in a frenzied whirl, looking for a property to love and buy. They are invited to inspect a series of very well-presented possibles for a maximum of about 45 minutes each and, like most people, they can be a little seduced by surface charm and appearances.
All agents have tales of buyers who have turned up at an inspection, fallen in love at first sight and made an offer on the spot. But sensible buyers make sure they look beyond the window dressing, which is often there only for the campaign’s duration, to assess the house’s fundamentals: size, construction, condition, workabilty, value and possible future problems.
In short, when they inspect a house or apartment as a home or investment, buyers should imagine the dwelling stark naked or, as Jellis Craig director Alastair Craig puts it more delicately, buyers should imagine the rooms empty or laid out with their own furniture.
Biggin & Scott director Bill Stavrakis says what people are really buying is the bricks and mortar and that’s what they need to assess.
”You should be looking at bedroom sizes – some of them have doors and wardrobes, others do not – storage, and the quality and size of bathrooms, whether they have a bath or a shower,” he says.
Buyers should also check the quality of appliances and cabinetry during their tour.