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How to get ready for Open Homes

07 March 2019

Open Homes can be very exciting, especially if you are a first home buyer. You get to walk around a home and imagine yourself living in it, which is all part of the fun right? But it is very easy to get distracted and find yourself dreaming about owning that home and how your furniture would look in it, but then miss the important details about the property. Many sellers know how to lure in buyers with quality staging and fresh paint leading you away from something that may cost you thousands down the track.

1. What can you afford?

One of the first things that you need to do before you go looking at open homes is to find out how much you can borrow, you need to know your price range. There are many beautiful homes on the market but there are short term house goals and there are long term house goals. Many of us will need to start small, especially in this market where the median house price ( in Auckland ) is close to 1 million. Keep in mind that many times our first homes are just a stepping stone.

2. Buy with your head, not your heart.

House staging is there for a reason, its to paint the house in its best possible light, to make you fall in love as soon as you walk in the door and that is sometimes what we do, but for the wrong reasons. A good paint job can cover a multitude of sins, be sure to check the basics, no matter how good the house looks.

3. Make a list of negotiable and non-negotiables.

If you are buying your first home with a partner, you both may have different ideas of what’s important. One might say that you need a modern kitchen and the other needs a garage, or that you don’t want to live on a main road or too far away from family. Keep in mind that a garage or a new kitchen can be added down the track but the main road won’t be going anywhere any time soon. Don’t rule out a house because it doesn’t have something you want right now. Similarly, don’t settle on a house with a nice kitchen and a garage if its on a busy main road or far away from family as those factors wont change. Remember what is negotiable and what is non-negotiable.

TOP TIP: Bring someone with you who understands your needs and what you are trying to achieve.

4. Add Value

One of the reasons that we want to own a home is so that we have the freedom to make changes and make it our own without having to answer to a landlord. As it’s a massive investment we also want to make money and climb up the property ladder and there is no shame in admitting that. One way of doing this is to add value. When going to open homes have a look to see if there are some areas that could be improved, ie landscape, deck, upgrade bathroom or kitchen, these are all ways that will help increase the value of your property and give you more equity when you want to upgrade.

5. Stick to the list

Look through Trademe , etc and find the houses in your price range and in the area that you want, make a schedule to view the open homes and stick to it. If you happen to drive past an open home for a house that is way out of your budget then try not to go in. We convince ourselves that we are just looking for the future and that it will motivate us but in fact it can have a very negative effect on our house buying experience. We compare ourselves to others at the open home, “ how can they afford it and we cant?” “That’s the house that I want, not this one” . But it’s all a journey. Aren’t you better to have a smaller house and a better standard of living rather than to buy the bigger house, stretch your budget, and then possibly have to downgrade because you simply can’t afford it? There are not many of us who have the luxury of our first home being our dream home and that’s OK.

6. Check list

Have a good look inside and outside the property. These are the important things to look for and is what you will be dealing with on a day to day basis if you buy the house so best get them under control now. If there are some issues then you can use these as tools when negotiating the price. 

Things to look for, 


  • Gutters, 
  • Foundation, 
  • Drainage,
  • Pathway, 
  • Shared access areas. 


  • Insulation, 
  • Storage, 
  • Dampness, 
  • Smells, 
  • Layout and flow.

7. Bring home all the info

Take the brochures that the agent hands out and write some notes on them as you go. When you start spending your weekends looking at open homes it is very easy to forget details. You may also forget some of the houses you saw and if you look back through the brochures and find that one of the houses that you liked is still for sale then you may be in the position to negotiate a better price.

8. Enjoy

I always and still do love going to open homes, its like looking into the future of what your life could be. Enjoy the process and remember, if you miss out on a house, there are many more beautiful homes out there that are just perfect for you.

Get in touch today or find us on facebook and see how we can help you get ready.

Category: Finance Mortgage Broker Broker Kiwisaver First Home Buyers Mortgage

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