Posts Tagged ‘Viewing a House’

House for Sale – Viewing a House

There are typically two ways that you can view a house for sale.

Open Homes

Many houses for sale have open homes. Details of the time of the open home are usually included in any advertising, and your local weekend paper is the most up-to-date resource for these. There are many pros and cons to open homes. The main pro and con being, there will be other people there. This makes it near impossible to have a confidential chat with the agent if you have any questions to ask, or to do a thorough inspection. But the presence of other viewers means you can wander around the house at your leisure independently of an agent. If you are interested, or have questions to ask, you can either ring the agent later or wait for them to call you. Don’t rely on a call from the agent, usually they will call you by the Monday night following the open home, but if there has been lots of interest, or they are not following the usual agent protocol, they may not call.

Arranged viewings

An arranged viewing is when you organise to see the house with the real estate agent at a time that suits you. Agents often need to give vendors and/or tenants plenty of warning before they can show you through a house, so you need to plan in advance for these. Also with some organisation you can see all the properties you are interested in one after the other, saving you time. Again, arranged viewings have pros and cons. You are no longer blending into the crowd at an open home. Good real estate agents will direct your attention to good points of the house and away from bad points, this is their job. They may also try to brush over what may seem like important issues to you. Just remember they are trying to get the house sold and you should only rely on what is on record at the local council and the opinions of independent professionals like building inspectors, and valuers. The main advantage of an arranged viewing is that there are no other potential buyers there, so you can do a thorough investigation. But try to have a look around independently of the real estate agent. After some advice on what to look at when viewing a house – Propertytoolbox has house viewing tips and 10 quick visual checks when viewing a house.

Sun Aspect of NZ Houses – Does the House Get Sun?

How do you work out if the house you are looking to buy gets any sun? Read on to find out the answer to this very important question when buying a house in NZ.

Does the House Get Sun?

The first house I ever bought had a lovely sunny deck and sun streaming into windows when I bought it in March – but spending the winter looking enviously at houses over the street basking in sunshine while my house did not get one single speck of sun for 3 months (due to an inconvenient hill…) was not fun...

I made it a mission from then on to find out all about the sun when I bought a house and now I am going to give you a few tips and tricks as to how to get a good idea of sun.

What parts of the house and section that get sun come down to three things, compass orientation, time of the year, and obstacles.

Compass Orientation

This is the most important. To find out your houses compass orientation, find north, you can usually work this out using a street map. All maps, including Google maps are orientated with north straight up. Now work out how your house is orientated around this north point.

The north facing side of your house is going to be the sunniest side; the sun comes around from east to west during the day, spending the most time shining on a houses north facing exterior walls.

The eastern and western house sides will get morning and afternoon sun and the south facing side of your house will get a small amount of early morning or late afternoon sun at the peak of summer – i.e. south facing sides get basically no sun. External walls that are moss coated are often a south facing give away.

Time Of The Year

During the summer the sun is higher in the sky and will penetrate into rooms of your house less. During the winter, the sun is lower in the sky and will often shine further into rooms because of this lower angle.

The sun is also lower in the morning and afternoon at all times of the year, so eastern and western sides of your house will get more penetrating sun. The sun moves from nearly south-east to nearly south-west at the height of summer (taking 15 hours) and moves from nearly north-east to nearly north-west (taking 9 hours) mid winter.

As a rough guide – the sun is half the height in the sky mid winter then it is mid summer and around 12-1pm is when the sun is at it’s highest (zenith) – good time for an open home...


Backing onto a hill, a big tree, a large neighbouring building can all have an effect on your sun. They may not have a major affect all year, but it is usually the effect of these obstacles in the winter (just when you appreciate all the sun you can get) that can really impact your enjoyment of a house.

Sunlight is one of the hardest, if not impossible things to change about a house – so it pays to work sun out when you are looking at buying new house.

Some Final Sunny Tips

The neighbours (on the same side of the street!) may be able to give you some sun insight, or you could drive by the house at different times of the day to check out the sun.

Another good way to get to know sun is to think about the house you live in now, what's its compass orientation? Where does the sun comes in to that house and when? If you can superimpose what you know about sun in your current house, on a new house, you can get a good picture of sun.

Does The House Get Sun - Sun Aspect of NZ Houses

The Propertytoolbox Home Buyers Guide

Want to know more about sun, or just want the technical bits so you can use your compass? We expend on this info in the Propertytoolbox website – the ‘Here Comes The Sun Guide’. You can even buy a comprehensive guide to it all to take with you with the Sun Guide eBook. Just after more advice and info? Head to our Home Buyers Guide.

House Buying Advice – My Propertytoolbox Top Five

The Propertytoolbox Blog has been full of great stuff this year. I have my own personal favourites and I thought I would share them with you. These articles were ones that I thought had some really helpful and useful information – giving you some key knowledge that could help you to make good house buying decisions! And that is, after all, what we are all about here at Propertytoolbox.

My Propertytoolbox Top Five

1. Scrim and Sarking.

This 4 part series of articles was packed full of information on Scrim and Sarking (a common wall lining in NZ houses). We started with explaining what Scrim and Sarking is and how to identify it. Then we went on to discuss why you need to think about replacing Scrim & Sarking wall linings. This article was followed by one on re-gibbing and what that involves and then finally on to the cost of replacing Scrim and Sarking wall linings. The series had some fantastic photos too, this was my favourite photo of the year.

Layers Of Wallpaper On Scrim

2. The OCR

The OCR (Official Cash Rate) is an important part of your life when you have a mortgage – and it really helps to understand what it is about when you are deciding about fixing or floating your home loan. Our article ‘The OCR and Your Home Loan Interest Rate’ talks all about it – so have a read and maybe the OCR will not longer be a mystery!

3. Viewing a House – 10 Quick Checks

The advice in this article could save you a lot of time and energy! In it we list 10 quick visual checks you can do when you go to view a house. These few checks can give you some insight into things that you may have missed otherwise and may only come to light at future viewing or even in a building inspection as part of an offer.

4. Costs of Home Ownership

Sometimes only the full impact of the financial commitment of home ownership becomes clear when it is too late. This explains all, and may highlight things/costs you haven’t even thought of. It always pays to make any house buying decision fully informed so this article ‘House Maintenance Budget? Costs of Home Ownership’ is a must read.

5. Property Valuation

So you want a property valuer? How about a website that profiles your local property valuers allowing you to compare, choose and contact them? does all that! was launched by Propertytoolbox this year and I think it provides an awesome service for home buyers in NZ – find out more about it in the Blog article ‘Property Valuation NZ – Helping You Find a Property Valuer’.

So there you have my top five. Over the next few weeks we will be going over more of our ‘Best Bits’ from the Propertytoolbox Blog for this year. Do you want more great house buying information right now? Head straight to our house buying guide.

Questions to Ask the Agent – Part 1

One of the first groups of people you meet on your house hunt is real estate agents. As you start looking they will be dealing with your enquiries to see houses and showing you through homes. This two part blog series aims to give you some good questions to ask the agent so you can get an insight in to the house and its value.

If you are viewing a house and find yourself interested, it is time to start asking the real estate agent some questions – they are likely to know some relevant information about the house, and surrounds, so make use of this source of knowledge.

But! Remember the agent is working for the vendor – so they are likely to emphasise the positive about the house and area and will tend to leave out the negative points. Therefore, noting what the real estate agent avoids talking about, says they know nothing about, or omits completely from the conversation are probably the most important things to know about - so reseach them!

These price related questions are a good place to start when talking to a real estate agent:

1. Why are they selling? If this information is available it can give some insight into the amount of negotiation you can do on price & whether settlement date is important to the vendor.

2. How long has it been on the market? Why isn't it selling? – The answer to this question can also give you some reference for price negotiation.

3. Have there been any offers? What were they? - It is good to know if there have been any offers, how much they were for, and when they were made. If time has passed – the vendor may be open to considering those same offers again.

4. How much will they take? – Just what is the vendor after? You may be surprised…

5. How much are the rates? – Handy to not have to look this one up yourself – and rates will be an ongoing monthly expense for you if you buy the house so this information is essential…

Next blog post we are going to discuss the condition of the house – and let you in on the questions that will give you an insight into aspects of the house and surrounds that may affect your perception of the house itself or the house’s value.

What to know more about house buying - the Propertytoolbox House Buying Guide has it all!