Looking at a house is an exciting step toward finding the home of your dreams! Sometimes you find the right home the first time you look, and sometimes it takes a few tries. Either way there are a few things to keep in mind as you look at homes and some do’s and don’ts to remember as you go.
The size of home your family needs
If you have a growing family, moving into a small house may be a big mistake. Your growing family needs space so while two bedrooms may work for now, in a few years from now, you may be cramped and unhappy. If you can afford a larger home, you’ll be happier staying put for longer if you have space to grow.
Alternatively, if you have older children who will be moving out over the next few years, you may not need as much space in the long haul. Keep your needs in mind, both short term and long term, as you look at homes. Square footage doesn’t always mean the right space for your family. A 3,000 square foot home could have 3 bedrooms or 6.
Potential issues with the property
While this isn’t the time to take a deep dive into the nitty gritty details of the home, it is important to note potential issues. Take note of any glaring problems especially if you intend to make an offer. You may also come across things that are instant deal breakers and you’ll know right away you aren’t interested in the property.
How you feel about the house
Buying a house is an emotional experience. Don’t get attached during your walkthrough, but you definitely want to come away with a positive feeling. Can you picture yourself living in the home? What works about it? What doesn’t work? Weigh the pros and cons and sometimes the more homes you look at, the better you’ll be able to determine if it’s the right house for you.
Comparables in your area
Be sure to have your agent pull comparables for the area. It will help you know if the home is priced right. If it’s priced higher than other homes, it could be because the home comes with a lot of upgrades. Pay attention to the comps square footage, features, and location. Each of those items influences the price of the home. If the house is priced significantly lower than other homes, that could indicate that it needs a lot of work.
Location of the home
The location of the home is a big deal. It changes your commute time, how close you are to shopping, restaurants, and schools. Depending on what you are looking for, if the home is out of the way, that may either be a good thing or a deal breaker. Don’t discount things like:
- How long it takes to get to the freeway
- How close the schools are
- If there’s shopping nearby
- What restaurants are close
- Will it affect resale value
Check out the neighborhood and the schools
Buying a house is more than just the home. You’ll be living in the area for a while, so it’s good to check out the neighborhood and if you have children, check out the schools. Are there a lot of young families in the neighborhood or is it a more mature neighborhood? Once you become serious about purchasing a home, spend some time driving around and becoming familiar with the area to make sure it’s the right fit for your family.
The Do’s and Don’ts of looking at a home
While most of these are no-brainers, it’s a good reminder to be respectful and courteous as you look at homes. Leaving the seller with a good impression could work in your favor once you submit your offer.
- Be on time to your appointment
- Remove your shoes
- View the interior first and exterior last
- Carry small children or hold their hand
- Schedule your appointment a day in advance if possible
- Leave lights exactly as you found them
- Be courteous
- Park in the driveway if you have an oil leak
- Touch any possessions
- Watch your agent put the code into the lockbox
- Use the restroom in the home unless it’s unavoidable
- Sit on beds
- Inspect details of the home – leave that to the professionals
While most home viewings last about 15 to 20 minutes, you may take more or less time depending on questions you may have and how seriously you are considering the home. Remember, if you move forward with submitting an offer, this won’t be the only chance you get to see your new potential home.