Touring homes can be incredibly exciting, but it can also get overwhelming because there is so much to consider, underscoring the need for a meticulous approach when visiting properties you’re interested in.
Follow the steps in this guide to help maintain your organization and ensure that no vital aspect goes unnoticed.
Take copious notes
It’s easy to forget specific details or mix them up with another when visiting many properties. To prevent any confusion down the road, bring a notebook so you can take meticulous notes about each one, jotting down your preferences and any aspects you find less appealing. Additionally, consider formulating questions in advance to gather as much information about the property as possible. These inquiries can encompass topics such as the condition and age of the roof and HVAC system as well as any past renovations or upgrades completed on the residence.
Get a feel for the neighborhood
To gain a deeper understanding of an area’s overall atmosphere and suitability, take a walk around before or after your tour and consider trying to connect with any neighbors you may meet, if they’re willing. Ask them what aspects they appreciate about living in the area and what challenges they have encountered. For instance, if you have children, you may want to know whether other families are in the neighborhood and if there’s a strong sense of community. Additionally, pay attention to how your immediate neighbors maintain their homes and how it aligns with your own expectations and preferences. Keep in mind that the appearance and condition of neighboring properties can also significantly impact the future resale value of your home.
Assess the layout and flow
While touring a home, determine whether its blueprint complements your daily life and provides the necessary space. You may look for a kitchen design that facilitates your passion for hosting gatherings. Or if you have children, evaluate whether the primary living spaces adequately meet their needs, including whether the main living room provides enough space for them to play. Be sure to take your time as you walk through the home, carefully paying attention to the details that are important to you.
Measure the rooms
Although your agent can typically provide room dimensions via the multiple listing service (MLS), it is still a good idea to bring a tape measure to each home tour so you can measure the spaces yourself in case of any discrepancies. It’s equally essential to measure the clearance of all doors and stairways to ensure that your furniture can smoothly fit into your new home, whether you plan to buy new or bring what you currently own. This will help you avoid the expense and inconvenience of having to part ways with any of it.
Gauge the amount of storage space
Confirm that the available storage space is enough for your needs. Be aware, however, that during showings, some sellers lock certain closets or rooms that may contain valuable items or personal belongings, making it easy to overlook valuable storage potential. Don’t hesitate to consult the listing agent to find out the size of these secured spaces.
Assess the appliances and cabinets
Do the appliances function well, and do they align with your preferred type and style? Are the kitchen and bathroom cabinets in need of painting or replacement? Are there signs of warping or water damage, which may suggest potential issues like leaking pipes? Any concerns these questions reveal may threaten your budget should you need to fix them upon moving in.
Check the flooring
Inspect any carpeting, hardwood flooring, tile, and marble carefully, such as deep gouges, loose tiles, or sagging or buckled floors since they can be expensive to repair or replace. Also, if feasible, check under small area rugs throughout the home to ensure there is no significant floor damage lurking underneath.
Evaluate the temperature
As you go from room to room and floor to floor, observe the temperature variations between each one. This allows you to anticipate issues like poor airflow, inadequate insulation, or inefficient heating and cooling systems that could lead to discomfort or higher energy costs.
Use your nose
Be on the lookout for potential concerns, such as moisture in the garage or mold spores in the attic or basement that may require remediation. Also, check for lingering tobacco smoke odors or strong cooking aromas that may have permeated the rugs and walls. These problems may require replacing the carpeting or painting the walls, adding to your move-in expenses.
Examine the attic and basement
Have a flashlight on hand to thoroughly inspect the basement and attic areas. Keep an eye out for concealed water damage in walls and ceilings, and inspect for rotted wood, a potential indication of the presence of wood-boring insects. When walking through the basement, pay particular attention to cracks in the walls as they could signal a foundation issue. It’s important to note, though, not all cracks are equal in significance; some may be the result of settling, which doesn’t compromise the foundation’s integrity. If items obstruct your view of the walls, consider requesting their removal for a follow-up inspection.
Look at the condition and layout of the yard
Evaluate the general state and visual appeal of the property’s landscaping, including the shrubs, lawn, and trees. Take note of any aspect of the outdoor area that doesn’t align with your standards since renovation or restoration could be a substantial expense. Also, it’s vital to gauge whether the outdoor space can accommodate your lifestyle, particularly if you have a young family or enjoy hosting gatherings.
Inspect roof and gutters
Although a professional home inspection will likely uncover any issues, there’s still something to learn from conducting a brief assessment of the roof and gutters during a home tour. You can do this by walking around the property’s exterior with your real estate agent, who typically has the expertise to spot and flag any potential problems, including missing or damaged roof tiles and gutter spouts.
Ensure you lean on the expertise of your real estate agent when evaluating each property. This will empower you to make a well-informed decision that aligns with your needs, desires, and financial considerations.