So you've found a house that catches your eye, and now it's time to actually visit the property and walk through the listing. What should you do while you are walking through to help you decide if this is the house for you?
Take Notes: Your agent should provide you with a print out of information on the home you are visiting. Turn it over and take notes on the back as you walk through. If you view several homes, they can quickly start to run together. In fact, even if you just view one or two homes it's hard to remember everything you saw when you are out of the house and contemplating an offer.
Assess What's Important to You: Perhaps you won't find a home that perfectly matches ALL of your criteria...but, you want to make sure that the home you choose at least has those features that are of most importance to you. If there is something that you've always wanted in a house that would be difficult or expensive to add on or change, think twice before you decide to buy something that doesn't have it. Most owners live in their homes for 3-5 years. Try to find a home that will appropriately meet your needs for at least that amount of time.
Open Blinds & Turn On Lights: If the homeowner or real estate agent hasn't already, make sure to open the blinds in the house and turn on the lights. Opening the blinds allows you to see the kind of view you will get from each room as well as experience the natural light that may be available. Turning on the lights helps brighten things up so you can get a better, more thorough look at the room.
Look Past the Clutter: Although sellers are encouraged to keep their homes tidy when being shown, there will be many listings you visit that are riddled with clutter. Remember, when you move into the home the seller's junk won't be there. So, try to look beyond it into the bones of the house...you may just find a diamond in the rough!
Look-Out for Damage and Safety Concerns: If you notice something that needs repair or presents a safety hazard, take note of it. Some repairs can be quite expensive and information on the condition of the home can be used to help in negotiations if you decide to make an offer.
Remember, Moving Walls Costs Money: If you find yourself mentally moving walls, remodeling kitchens and bathrooms, or replacing floor coverings, stop and assess whether or not those desired changes are even a financial possibility before you consider the home any further. Additions, remodels, and fancy upgrades may seem simple, but they can cost thousands. Don't get in over your head.
Compare Value: After touring a few homes, it begins to get easier to spot a good deal when you see one. Begin to compare the cost of the homes you are viewing and assess the value you can get for your money.
Take Pictures: If you are a visual person, you may want to bring a camera and take pictures of certain features of the home. Looking back through the pictures can help jog your memory about each property and which features you found attractive.
Throw It Out: If you are touring several properties and you go through one that just doesn't stand up to the others, immediately throw away any information or listing paperwork you may have on the home. This will help you keep organized and prevent you from shuffling through listing flier on homes that just didn't cut it.
Information courtesy of Intermountain Multiple Listing Service. Information provided by IMLS is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. IDX information is provided exclusively for consumers' personal, non‐commercial use, it may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. IMLS does not assume any liability for missing or inaccurate data. All listings provided by IMLS are marked with the official IMLS IDX icon.