Searching for a home can be one daunting task – especially for a first time buyer. Whether it’s an open house or a private showing, you can’t attend either without a game plan or you may leave feeling aimless and confused. Hunting down a home should be fun and exciting so ensure you’re making the most out of your time exploring prospective properties.
Following are a few tips to keep in mind as you navigate the world of open houses and showings in pursuit of the home of your dreams.
Research, research, research. You should know what you’re getting into before you even set foot in the house – that way you don’t run into any surprises. Reference the property’s online listing to get an in-depth look into the home, neighborhood, layout, features, etc.
What do you truly want? Before you walk into a private showing/open house, be sure to have a mental (or even a physical) list that maps out what you’re looking for in a property, so you can check the boxes as you take the tour.
Bring your questions. Compile a list of specific property questions (i.e. When was the roof replaced last? What are the HOA fees?) so you’re prepared to ask the showing agent during/after your tour. This ensures you leave the listing with answers which will ultimately help inform your decision.
Bring your camera. Not every room’s photos will appear on the online listing or brochure for you to reference after the tour. It is a good idea to take your own camera so that you can document the rooms you most like or have questions about.
Know your surroundings. When you arrive at the listing, make sure to be as observant as possible; keep an eye on the neighbors, noise level, neighborhood, surrounding businesses, etc. This can give you a first-hand look at the lifestyle that goes along with living in that particular house.
Think with your brain, not your heart. You may be blinded by a flashy kitchen or imported Italian marble bathroom sinks, but you shouldn’t get caught up in the moment. If the home doesn’t have a majority of your ‘must haves’ then maybe you should take a day to reflect on the property, and think objectively about moving forward.
Keep cool. Imagine you are touring your dream home, don’t profess your love for the property in front of the seller’s agent. In order to keep a good negotiating position with the seller, keep quiet until you are alone with your agent.
Bring your agent. They do this for a living and can often point out important things that an untrained eye may miss. Take advantage of their knowledge, it may be the most valuable tool you have in your arsenal.
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