This week we are moving on to one of my personal favorite parts of the homebuying process, the actual home search!
Now that you’ve lined up your team of professionals (including your agent and lender) and decided what you are looking for and where, it’s finally time to hit the ground running and check out some properties.
For some buyers this part of the process is fun and enjoyable, for others, it can be understandably stressful. While no two buyers home searches are the same, there are some recommendations that I can offer to help make sure that your time spent looking at houses is productive and beneficial:
Shop before you buy
- For buyers with a flexible or extended timeframe, I recommend casually starting your home search a little early, 4-6 months from when you want to move.
- If you are someone who thinks you will fall in love with a house right away and then be devastated that you can’t buy it, this strategy is not for you.
- This allows time for a less focused, more casual exploration phase – think “window shopping” but not looking to purchase, where you can look at houses that may not be 100% what you are looking for, but can be valuable for helping define what you want as well as what you don’t want
Plan ahead, schedule showings in advance
- Most new listings come on the market on Thursday or Friday, and many will have an offer deadline the following week. Scheduling showings for new listings within 1-2 days of when they come on the market helps to make sure that you have a chance to see them.
- Some houses are easier to see than others. Pets, children, tenants and more can create scheduling complications. Scheduling showings in advance with your agent helps to makes sure that you can see the homes that you want to see while they are available.
Do a drive/walk/bike by in advance
- If you can, check out the home, block, and neighbors from the outside. You may decide that you don’t want to see the inside, or you may decide to prioritize that visit.
- Even better, get lunch in the neighborhood or check out the local park to get an even better feel for what it would be like to live there
Take notes (or photos, or videos)
- After looking at a few houses they do tend to run together. If you are seeing more than one property at a time, take notes and write down questions that you can refer back to later. This helps you to remember what was important to you at the time and can be really beneficial if you decide that you want to submit an offer.
Don’t bring extra shoppers with you
- This may be my least popular recommendation but bringing your friend, mom, or kids with you may be more distracting than helpful. Don’t get me wrong, I love your house hunting helpers, but if you have the option to look without them you will find your time is more efficient and productive. It can be challenging to focus on envisioning your home in a space when your 3 year old is testing every bathroom (don’t worry, they all do this). If you do bring them with you, consider bringing something for them to do while you look at the house and let your agent know you will have little ones with you so that they schedule extra time for each showing and between.
Do bring any decision makers
- Scheduling challenges do necessitate separate showings at times but when possible its best for all decision makers visit the home together, the discussion and dialogue that you have in person, at the home, is important.
Have any questions about the home buying process that I haven’t covered or gotten to yet? Feel free to send me an email, I love hearing from you! [email protected]