Tips for Going House Hunting

Posted By: Rebekah Scott ICOR Blog & News,

House hunting…while it may be fun and exciting to some, the prospect of a day of house hunting is daunting to most. And it can be downright exhausting for the unprepared. Surprisingly, many people overlook essentials needed for a day of productive house hunting, making it a more challenging activity than it needs to be. The good news? Just a little organization can reduce stress and help you have a fruitful house hunting event that you might just enjoy!

1. Water bottle & energy snacks.

While it may seem like common sense to bring hydration for a long day of traipsing through homes, some people forget their water bottle and you can’t expect homeowners to provide it! Of equal or greater importance is high energy snacks. A day of house hunting can zap your energy, especially if you haven’t scheduled replenishment into your house-hunting excursion. There’s nothing like a convenient, nutritious protein or nut bar to re-energize you, so don’t leave home without it!

2. Comfy slip-on shoes.

Shoes come off at the door so be prepared by wearing shoes that slip on and off with ease. As a courtesy to homeowners, remove your shoes at both private showings and open houses. If you don’t want to walk barefoot through homes, especially on cold tile floors, remember to wear shoes that work with socks rather than sandals or flip flops.

3. Tape measure & furniture measurements.

If you have a collection of furniture you love and plan to use it in your new home, bring furniture measurements to assess how each piece will fit into the homes in which you’re most interested. This is particularly important if you’re considering a home with an unusual layout or if you’re significantly upsizing or downsizing. You’ll want your furniture pieces to work size-wise and stylistically with any home you’re considering. Record the measurements of each room so you can do a more careful assessment of furniture relative to room dimensions when you’re back home.  If your furniture will not fit, it’s not a deal breaker; rather, it is an important consideration since buying new furniture can be quite expensive.

4. Trusted friend or relative.

Buying a home is an emotionally charged experience, which is why an objective, calm and trusted friend or relative can help with valuable input, ideas and opinions. Importantly, bring someone with experience buying and selling homes of their own to provide input on the good, the bad, and the ugly. Objectivity is critical to good decision-making, and since it’s sometimes in short supply during stressful, emotional times, the detached and impartial input of a trusted friend can be invaluable.

5. Phone or camera for photos.

In days gone by, taking photos of the inside of a home while house hunting was considered to be impolite, even an invasion of privacy. Not so today. If you are a serious house hunter, digital photos are a must. Although real estate listings are accompanied by photos, they are not inclusive of everything in the home. For instance, if you want photos of trim or hardware, closets, pantries, etc., that are not shown in MLS listings, then record them with your phone. If you’re not interested in the house, no need to take photos!

6. Note-taking materials or devices 

When you’re looking at a number of homes in one day, it’s a lot of mental and visual stimuli, so it’s not at all unusual to become confused about what you saw where.  Hence, notes on each home you preview are essential, whether you take those notes with pen and paper or your smartphone. When you use your phone for interior and exterior snapshots, add notes to correspond with images so you have references when you get back home and begin the process of sorting through all the properties you saw. With such an important decision at stake, don’t trust your memory alone.

One non-tangible essential to bring when you’re house hunting is a mindset open to possibilities. Try to suspend any preconceived notions about what will or will not work. Be open to ideas and suggestions, thinking in terms of possibilities instead of limitations. Last but not least, have fun!