Section 6:  Searching For The Right Home

Buying a home is an exciting and emotional time.  It is not like buying a pair of pants that can b returned to the store if you are unhappy with the fit.  To avoid costly mistakes that could haunt you for years, you need to make sure that you do your homework properly when house hunting.

Viewing a Home

Assuming you have your down payment and closing costs and mortgage pre-approval, the first thing you need to do before viewing any homes is to determine what you are looking for. Answering these questions as early as possible will save you time from viewing homes that do not suit you.

  • What are your criteria?

  • Do you need a set number of bedrooms and bathrooms?

  • Do you want a yard?

  • Do you want property only in particular neighborhoods?

  • How much are you willing or able to spend?

Once you have decided your criteria, have your real estate agent put together a list of properties meeting your criteria.  From that list, you select the properties that you would like to go see in person.

Schedule Adequate Time

Make sure that you have plenty of time to really view the home from a critical perspective.  You will be living in your house for many years, so five minutes to stroll around is not enough time.  Thoroughly look at the house.  Open drawers, cabinets and closets.  Look behind and under furniture.  This may seem rude, but it is not.  You are about to make a substantial purchase and you need to know what you are getting.

What Comes With the Property?

Confirm what does and does not come with the home and get confirmation in writing.

Do Not Be Fooled By Staging

Staging is used to make a home more appealing.  Look beyond the immediate aesthetics of the interior décor.  Focus your attention on what you will get when the furniture and décor are removed.

Keep Emotions At Bay

Keep emotions out of consideration and only consider the property as a building you need to inspect and assess.  Rapid emotional attachment may cloud your decision making.  If you get attached from the beginning, you might make an emotional decision and overlook major problems.

View Multiple Times

Once you have serious interest in a house, view it multiple times at different times of the day.  You will learn about the neighborhood, traffic patterns, and noise levels at various times.  Getting a good sense of the environment is just as valuable as viewing the home itself.

The Condition Of The Property

  • Is the home structurally sound?​​

  • Look (and smell) closely for evidence of mold

  • Ensure heating, air-conditioning, and electricity are in good working order.

  • Look in the attic

  • Look at plumbing

  • Is the exterior of the home in good shape and well maintained?

Property History

Ask how long the property has been on the market, have any contracts fallen through, was it previously listed and withdrawn, have there been any price adjustments?  These questions can help you determine an offer strategy.

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