Private property insepction
Buyers agent Michelle May highlights how our five senses are crucial to securing your dream home, and how you can stay in tune with yours. Image – Canva
  • Doing your due diligence is key to securing dream home, including staying in tune with your 5 senses
  • Sight, smell, sound, touch and taste are crucial to identifying red flags and possible costly issues
  • Senses are not a substitute for professional help, but will guide your property search says Michelle May

Due diligence is a phrase echoed by property experts across the nation, and is crucial to avoiding becoming stuck in a rut with a property dud.

While due diligence does mean employing the help of professionals to tick off tasks such as building assessments, pest inspections and handling contracts, your role as a buyer is not to be overlooked.

Buyers agent and Host of Buy Your Side podcast, Michelle May, highlights the role of utilising your five senses and why it’s important to stay in tune with them while on the property hunt.

1. Sight

Ms May acknowledged that while sight is always the first point of contact when searching for a property, it should never be the be-all end-all.

Ms May compared exploring online listings to swiping through dating app profiles, and agrees that while first impressions matter, they are never the only thing that counts.

“Just like Tinder or Bumble, sellers dress up their property and put its ‘good side’ on display to grab attention, get buyers through the door, and in many cases, cover up some of the qualities that aren’t so desirable.” 

Michelle May, Buyers Agent

While property styling can sometimes be a misleading attention-grab, Ms May encourages buyers not to bypass some hidden gems without expert styling or photographing.

“I’ve had to fight to get clients to come and see a property with me that they’d said no to after seeing the online listing and ended up loving in real life.

Look past the styling to see the bones of the house: the floor plan and the natural light once all of the lights have been turned off,” she said.

2. Smell

While a great smelling house feels inviting, smell can often be used in property showcases as a cover for nasty issues.

“Damp or musty smells suggest the presence of mould or mildew, putting the integrity of the house and your health at risk. Be wary of anything unpleasant from the toilet as poor pipes or sewage issues can be identified in a whiff.

“And, don’t ignore the stench of stale cigarettes. You may think the current owners taking away all of their furniture will solve the problem; however, cigarette smoke can live in carpet and wallpaper for a long time,” Ms May warns.

Michelle May
Michelle May, Buyers Agent. Image – Supplied

In most cases though, Ms May said buyers are not to be immediately deterred by an odorous house, and can instead rectify the situation with an action plan.

3. Sound

Ms May advised buyers to pay particular attention to the noise level of the surrounding area, and arrange a private inspection to gain insight into the typical sounds.

Noise disturbances can pose a hefty disruption to a peaceful lifestyle, so she suggests buyers spend time in the local area especially if the property is close to a commercial zone.

“Does the local kebab shop get overrun with noisy patrons at 2am? Will the rumble of the dry cleaners disrupt your peaceful Sunday morning sleep-in?

“It pays to spend as much time as you can in the area to get a sense of what life will be like before committing,” she said.

4. Touch

Ms May said touch is essential to avoiding a purchase mistake, especially when you know what to look for.

Knocking on the plaster can indicate its quality as well as raise red flags, such as a hollow drummy sound which means the plaster has detached from the bricks and may require expensive repairs.

“Soft wood pliable to your touch can signify termite or bore damage, and you should also get a feel for the floor. If it feels springy or has a lot of movement, the piers of the house may be too small, or the joists could be decaying.

“Issues with the structure of a home are costly and time-consuming to repair, so take your time to get a feel for the house, literally.”

Michelle May, Buyers Agent

5. Taste

While Ms May suggest buyers don’t take this one too literally, getting a taste for the locale and ensuring this is an area you can see yourself enjoying is crucial.

“Visit the local coffee shop, check out the dinner specials at nearby restaurants and pay attention to the people and the lifestyles of your potential neighbours. They’ll be who you’re chatting to in the line at the Post Office,” she said.

While doing your own due diligence should not replace asking for help from the professionals, staying in touch with your senses and following your nose is essential to land your dream property in today’s tight market.

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