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Questions to ask during an open inspection

By Andrew Bell

Open inspections are becoming increasingly popular, as vendors open up their property and give prospective buyers an opportunity to see what's on offer. They are ideal in situations where a quick sale is needed, as large numbers of people are able to view the home in a relatively short space of time.

If you're planning on attending an open inspection of a Surfers Paradise property, it pays to be armed with a set of questions. In many cases, the existing owners of the property will be on hand to respond to your queries, giving you a better idea of what it is like to actually live in a particular home and neighbourhood.

Here are just some of the questions you might want to have on hand to determine whether a home should make it onto your shortlist.

1. Why are you moving?

People have different motivations for moving; it may be that they need to relocate due to work reasons, or they are hoping to downsize their Surfers Paradise property. While this question might not be entirely telling, it could give a valuable insight into how quickly the sale would need to be completed.

If you are interested in submitting an offer, vendors in search of a quick sale are perhaps going to be more open to negotiations than those who are in less of a hurry to move.

2. What are the local facilities like?

There's no one better to ask about facilities in a local area than someone who has lived there. They will be able to tell you how close the local shops are and whether you will have to travel far to find a decent school.

3. How long has the property been up for sale?

In a market as fast paced as Surfers Paradise, it's unlikely a property is going to have been available for long – but there are of course exceptions to the rule. If the sellers have been trying to move for a while without success, then take a good look at the reasons why.

There will be situations where they simply haven't been lucky enough to attract the right buyer, but you'll need to be open to the prospect of there being other factors at play.

4. What are the running costs?

Some homes will be more efficient to run than others, so if the existing owner has made environmentally friendly improvements, chances are they'll be more than happy to explain. Features such as a new boiler, solar panels or insulation could all make a difference to your monthly bills.

5. Are any fixtures and fittings being left behind?

It's possible the vendor will choose to leave certain furniture or fixtures behind – and an open inspection is your opportunity to ask. This is likely to be the case if they are downsizing, as there's a strong chance their existing furniture won't fit in the new property.

6. What are the neighbours like?

Having good neighbours could make a real difference to how happy you are in your new home, so you might want to think about asking. A welcoming community will make you feel right at home, although some people like to keep themselves to themselves!

You could also enquire about whether there are any community activities taking place, either on your street or at a nearby location if you're especially keen to get involved.

7. Are there any restrictions on the property?

Some real estate will come with certain restrictions, especially if it's a listed property or part of a wider complex. The seller will be able to give you some detail, but if you're interested in the home, it's worth discussing any particular exclusions with your real estate agent.

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