Fall and winter house shopping can be fun but also a very stressful time. It’s a very exciting time, looking at options for your potential future home. There are a lot of moving parts to house hunting, lots of paperwork to keep track of, finding the right agent or broker, getting pre-approved, finding properties within your budget, appraisals, etc. Here are some tips for keeping your house hunt as organized as possible.
Keeping House Options Organized
Touring all the open houses and available properties can get confusing and overwhelming. Properties can blend together in your mind and trying to keep important features of a home straight can also start to blur. Before you start your official hunt, it would be wise to sit down and list out all of the features you want in a home. It can be easy to visit a house and say this is perfect and forget that you’re missing out on key features that you really wanted in the first place. Take into consideration what all of the members of your family want in a home, backyard for the kids or pets, dual sinks in the master bath – whatever it is, list it out. Then narrow the list down to a top three to five. When you visit a property, compare it to your list of wants and needs. Make sure your broker knows what your top wants and needs are, so they can be sure to show you properties that align with your list. It can also help to make a comparison chart. Listing out what you want and comparing it with properties you’ve seen can help you stay on track. It can also help you keep track of properties you’ve seen, if you keep a running list or chart, and prevent them from running together.
Touring the Homes Available
It can be helpful to walk through a home more than once. Enjoy walking through the home the first time, take in the feel of the layout. Try not to get swept up in exciting features or other distracting things. On your second time through, using a slightly harsher lens, consider your list of desired features and think about if this home really has what you are looking for. It’s important to keep these things in mind, and not get swept up in dazzling features. It’s also important to note, that your first impression of the house, on your first walkthrough, can be the best indicator. Notice if it has what you’re looking for, but if your gut says no when you’re walking through a home, listen to that internal alarm. Even if this home has all the things on your desired list. Asking to take photos of a home that you like is never a bad idea. It may remind you why you liked the home in the first place. Taking a moment to visualize how you would use the space in the home to make it yours can also be helpful.
Keep Track of Each Home You Visit
Keeping track of the homes you liked and homes that you didn’t can make your house hunt less stressful. Keep in mind features that are deal breakers, things you want, and things you don’t. Consider the different neighborhoods the homes are in and decide which one fits for you and/or your family. Communication with your broker is key as well. Keep them in the loop as to what you like and what you didn’t. If they have all the tools they need from you, they should be able to produce a wonderful list of properties for you to look at. Don’t save any info on the houses that are definite no’s, that way you don’t add those properties to the possibilities list.
Some of the most important tips are to take your time, consider all the options and really try to imagine your own belongings and routines in each home that you are considering. Staying organized and deliberate will help you make your final decision and you will be happy with that final choice because you’ll know you’ve considered everything.