Advice matters
Six tips to make the most of open homes

Are you ready to begin your house-hunting adventure? Great job – putting together that deposit is no simple task, but you made it.

It’s time to start looking for that special place to call home. Of course, attending open homes is one of the most fun aspects of purchasing property, but remember, it’s also vital to stay grounded and keep emotions at bay.

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your first, or next, open home.

Get a mortgage pre-approval

You know this well: purchasing property is a big, long-term financial commitment, so you’ll need to find a home that fits comfortably within your budget.

Getting a mortgage pre-approval can be a vital step to the home-buying process. It’s a formal statement from a lender saying that – if all circumstances remain unchanged – you are qualified to borrow up to a certain amount. This figure can help you narrow down your search, show vendors and agents that you’re a serious buyer, and importantly, make your offer more competitive.

As mortgage advisers, we can help you liaise with a lender (or lenders) of your choice. Get in touch with SHARE if you’re ready to explore your options.

List your must-haves, nice-to-haves and deal-breakers

Looking for a spare room to set up a home business? A large garage for storage? Something private, away from the road and the neighbours?

Each home buyer has a unique set of expectations, ‘needs’ and ‘wants’, so write them down and bring the list with you to the open home, to ensure the property checks all the boxes.

Use a checklist

Speaking of lists, open homes are an opportunity to do some due diligence ‘on the spot’. Try to arrive at the start time, to allow yourself ample time to stroll through the house and notice any potential issues. has created a handy checklist of things buyers need to look out for, such as ‘red flags’ like water stains or a musty smell. You can also try Settled’s Property Checker to identify potential areas that may need to be investigated further, depending on the age and style of the property.

Keep in mind, though, that there may be concealed structural concerns as well. Once you’ve found a house you’re interested in, we recommend getting a builder to check the structural integrity of the property: it will cost a few hundred dollars, but the peace of mind it provides is priceless.

Ask a lot of questions

Make sure you ask the agent as many questions as you can. Sure, they work for the vendor, but they must treat you fairly and disclose any known problems – for example, whether the house has unconsented work.

Remember: no question is too big or small. Here are some key questions you may want to ask, including the age and history of the property, what the community is like, and if there have been any weathertightness issues you should know about.

Don’t let emotions get in the way

If the property is in high demand, you will likely compete with other buyers. It can be overwhelming to see many keen competitors at open homes, but as we said before, keeping emotions at bay is crucial.

It may help to bring a ‘support person’ with you, be it a friend or a family member. Not only can they help you identify potential issues, but they can also offer an external opinion from a balanced perspective.

You’re not necessarily buying your ‘forever home’

When looking for your first home, having a clear idea of your budget, needs and wants is very important. But it’s also crucial to be flexible.

Keep in mind that your first home doesn’t have to be your ‘forever home’: if you know house prices are rising quickly, you may have to compromise on a few nice-to-haves to secure a foot on the property ladder. On the other hand, if prices are fairly stable, you may be able to wait a bit longer or stretch your resources to get a home you love…

Need help with your mortgage?

When it comes to buying your first home, there are many factors to consider – and arguably affordability is the most important one. If you’re looking for a mortgage for your property purchase, get in touch with a SHARE mortgage adviser. We can help you explore your options and work out the next steps with you.