Your Weekend Househunting Trip: How to Prepare — and Succeed!
The Washington DC area is incredibly transient with people constantly relocating for jobs, education, and military assignments. Many times, our clients only have one short househunting trip to find — and successfully purchase — their new home. While it may seem like an impossible task, we’ve seen clients successfully purchase a house in weekend time and again.
Homes in our area are selling very quickly (sometimes even before they officially hit the market) so it’s essential you arrive for your househunting trip organized and prepared.
If you’re planning to travel to your next city for a weekend househunting trip, we’ve got some tips for you to make your trip — and househunting — successful and as smooth as possible.
Two Months Prior
- Find a great Realtor! By far, the best way to find an excellent local Realtor is to ask friends and family for recommendations. If you don’t know anyone that’s lived in your new city, fret not. Ask a Realtor you’ve used before to refer you to another Realtor in her network that she recommends. Be sure to read our post on the importance of using a Realtor vs. an agent.
- Schedule an initial interview with the Realtor to discuss your plans and needs. Confirm that she is a good fit for you.
- Sign a buyer broker agreement. Many clients don’t understand the need for this important agreement. Signing it and working exclusively with an experienced agent will only benefit you.
- Have another phone call or video chat with your Realtor to discuss neighborhoods, commutes, home styles, price range, and how much space you’ll need.
- Find a great lender and get your pre-approved for a loan. Your Realtor will be able to recommend one that can get the job done. Don’t wait until you’re looking at houses to know your budget and options.
- Schedule time with your Realtor for each day of your househunting trip. Ensure you’re on her calendar for several hours each day. You can always cancel these sessions if need be. Also, ensure that your Realtor has someone else on her team to step in and show you homes in her place should something arise.
- Book a hotel or Airbnb near where you want to live. Staying in or near where you plan to live is an excellent way to get to know your new neighborhood and town.
The Week Before
- Your Realtor will start sending you available properties that meet your criteria. Start giving her feedback on what you like (and dislike).
- With your feedback, your Realtor schedules your home tour.
- Check back in with your lender on rates and confirm how many days they’ll need to close a loan.
The Househunting Weekend
- Arrive in town, check into your accommodations, and start exploring on your own.
- Tour homes with your Realtor as previously scheduled. Take lots of notes on the homes you see.
- Explore neighborhoods and test commutes on your own.
- Once you’ve found “the” home, talk to your lender then make an offer!
- As soon as your offer is ratified, schedule the pre-inspection and/or home inspection or (you do not need to be present for it).
- Take measurements and pictures of all rooms and spaces so you can start mentally placing your furniture and accessories.
- Relax and celebrate!
The Bottom Line
Buying a home on a weekend househunting trip may seem like an impossible task. However, with some advanced planning and research — and an experienced Realtor and lender — it can happen!
Are you coming to DC for a weekend househunting trip? Please let us know. We’d love to help you find your next home.