Hunting for your next home can be both thrilling and overwhelming. You’re bound to come across several properties that you think would be perfect for you and your family. Make your decision easier while avoiding a bad one by doing the following during your hunt:
1. Make a must-have list
Before looking around, it’s important to nail down what you want in a home. Get the family together and make a list of features you desire, whether it’s a pool, big garage, or expansive back yard. Searching for homes while you have 3-5 things as top priority will help you stay focused on what you actually want to buy.
2. Bring a pen and paper
Depending on how many houses you go out to look, remembering all the details can either be very easy or a challenge. To help you keep track of the small things, bring something to write with so you can jot down how much natural light there is in each room, the storage space, cost per square foot, etc. This will make all the difference when you’re still undecided and have a comparison checklist to help you.
3. Walk through once, then a few times again.
It’s easy to get excited when exploring a gorgeous home for the first time. This is OK; house hunting should be enjoyable! But after you’ve taken in your first impression, we recommend going back out and walking through again. This time, take that pen and paper we mentioned in our last point and start inspecting the place for any details worth taking down.
4. Don’t forget the camera
Or your smartphone, which is probably your go-to device for taking pictures. Once you’ve asked the realtor for permission, take out your phone/camera and snap all the photos you think you’ll need. These aren’t for posting on social media (you can get in trouble for doing so!)— they’re so you can keep a fresh idea of the home well after your memory has gone fuzzy. A video tour is also recommended.
5. Try imagining yourself already living there.
While walking through the home, start envisioning how you and your family will utilize the space. Even if a room is set up as an office, use your imagination to see if it’d be a great place for your kids or guests. Imagining how your furniture will be arranged, especially if you bring measurements with you, can help you get an idea of how it compares to your current home in terms of space.
6. Take the necessary peeks
Don’t be afraid to look where no one else does to really see what that particular home offers. Checking under rugs, for example, can reveal concealed damage that will cost you down the road. Open cupboards and closets while carefully inspecting windows, under the sink, the ceiling, etc. Finding one or more hidden issues can be the negative you needed to help you decide which house to consider purchasing.
7. Visit the home later in the day
Open houses are generally done between morning and late afternoon. This gives you a good look at the property when it’s sunny out… but how are things at night? Coming back after sunset lets you get an impression of the neighborhood’s atmosphere. It’s in the evening when school is out and most people are off work that you’ll discover if the neighborhood is quiet, has a lot of young families with children playing outside, and other important factors.