January 16th, 2015 10:59 AM by Jackie A. Graves, President
While you are house hunting, it’s helpful
to keep track of what you’ve seen. After walking through more than a
half-dozen homes, the features and foibles of each house can begin to blur
You need to recall the amenities each home
offers to determine which place would suit your needs best.
These five tips can help you stay focused and organized.
1. Set priorities
Before you start your house search, make a
master list of all the things you need and all the things
you like. List the items in order of importance. For example, home
office space might be more important than a Jacuzzi tub in the master
bathroom or a walk-in closet. Make sure your list includes the following:
Overall square footage
Number of bedrooms
Number of bathrooms
Size of yard
Style of home (e.g., condo or single-family)
You could also add these other features:
Large master bathroom
Large kitchen with lots of storage space
Single floor or multiple stories
Formal dining room
2. Factor in travel time
In addition to your priorities list, create a
list of the places you visit regularly, also in order of importance. For
example, your work commute will likely be more critical than the distance to a
gym you visit twice a week. Add schools, parks and other places that are
regular pit stops. When you buy a home, you’re committing to any travel
arrangement permanently, so be sure that the distance will suit you into the
3. Take notes
Once you’ve finalized your lists, create a
checklist system that you can take with you as you look at homes. Some
people prefer a spreadsheet, while others may prefer to take separate
notes for each home.
You’ll want to be able to make comments that
correspond with any photos you take. In your notes, be sure
to identify homes by their address, so you can cross-reference them with
notes from a REALTOR®.
4. Start touring
With your system in place, you’re ready to
start visiting homes. Walk through each home and record items on your
list, as well as your emotional response.
Snap pictures of anything special you’d like
to remember later. Don’t dwell on items that are easy fixes. You can
always swap a refrigerator or paint over a fuchsia wall in the guest
bathroom after you move in.
Focus on the permanent features that
would be costly to change. Is the roof in good shape? Is there enough
space for your family?
If you walk into a home and dislike it
immediately, it is probably best to heed your gut reaction. Don’t force
yourself to like a home because it looks good on paper. However, if you
walk in the front door and immediately feel at home, note that.
It shouldn’t be the only factor you consider, but it is significant.
5. Review your notes
After you have
seen several homes, review your summaries. Certain homes will
jump out, and you can easily compare them. House A may be $10,000 more than
house B, but it offers an extra bedroom. House C may have a pool but only
one bathroom. Revisit your narrowed-down choices again for a second look.
Finding and buying the right home for you
and your family will take time. By following these five tips to help you stay
focused and organized, you won’t have to worry about forgetting the features of
the homes you visit—and you can be confident in your home choice.
By: Patricia-Anne Tom | Updated from an
earlier version by Laura Sherman
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