Tips for Touring Homes: Our Top Five
The fall real estate market is upon us, which means that it’s the second busiest househunting time of year. If you’re in the market to buy a home, take a moment to read our five top tips for touring homes. We’ve learned these lessons in our 25 years’ of experience (you’ll thank us later!)
Our most important of the tips for touring homes? Have a dedicated notebook or notes section in your phone where you can add notes about each property you visit. While you may think you can remember the details of each house, after you see more than five homes, they all start to run together! Be sure to note things you like, don’t like and any questions you have about the house.
While we have our complaints about many a HGTV show, there is a lot to be said for the vision it has given potential buyers. When touring homes, look past worn/dirty carpets, old appliances and ugly wall colors, lighting fixtures or decor. These things are easy and inexpensive to fix. Instead of focusing on these items, look at the size and space of the rooms and the location and situation of the home.
Take a moment to pause inside and outside of the property to listen. Is there a lot of road noise or the sound of airplanes overhead? Can you hear your neighbors? If so, will that bother you?
Are there any weird smells? Some smells like pet odor can be corrected easily. Others, like cigarettes can be trickier to cover up. You will also want to note if it smells musty or moldy in the house. You will also want to look at ceilings to see if there are any stains or signs of water damage.
The Pre-offer Checklist
Remember, you can always go back to the house before writing an offer so you don’t need to spend hours at every home you visit. When you go back, have a pre-offer checklist that you run through to make the visit as efficient and productive as possible.
- Personal preferences. If there is anything that is critically important to you, be sure to add it to your pre-offer checklist of things to confirm before you write an offer. For example if you have a baby, checking to be sure there is a place for stroller storage and that there aren’t too many stairs going to the front entrance. You can find more tips in our buying with a baby article.
- Age of costly repair items. This checklist should also include ages of any major systems in the home and the roof. These can be costly to repair so you want to make sure if the roof or systems need to be repaired in the next few years, you budget appropriately or take it into account when making your offer. Refer to this handy guide for approximate costs.
- Storage! Speaking of storage, check the closets, attic, basement, cabinets, built-ins and other areas to make sure there is enough storage space.
- Natural light. Something that can be overlooked if you tour on a very sunny or very gloomy day – always check the windows and the amount of natural light the home gets. If you’re touring homes in the winter months, imagine the surrounding trees with leaves. Will that change the light?
- Fit! We hesitate to include this on the list, but if you have a piece of furniture you can’t live without (your grandmother’s dining room table or an oversized sofa), bring your tape measure to ensure it will fit in the space. However, we always caution against making a decision on a home around a piece of furniture, unless it is a family heirloom you cannot live without! We’ve had many clients decide not to buy a house around a piece of furniture that they end up replacing months later.
If you need help with more tips for touring homes or your househunt, please contact us today. We’ve helped hundreds of buyers find their perfect homes. We are passionate about helping people love where they live!
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