Touring prospective homes is one of the most time-consuming steps in the home buying process. You have to set an appointment with the real estate agent, drive to several locations, and spend half an hour or so touring each option. More than that, seeing so many houses can lead to more confusion than clarity at the end of the day. And if you’re touring plots of land for sale, you may not even know what to look for.
Nevertheless, there are plenty of ways you can make the home touring process much easier. The next time you go for a tour, here are some tips that you should keep in mind.
Make a list of the features that you absolutely need and the features that are nice to have but don’t really need. Write them down in a notebook or on your phone. As you go along each tour, you can note which homes tick the most boxes so that you can have an easier time comparing them at the end of your tour. Most home buyers have a hard time remembering the differences between each home, so having a list to refer to can make things a lot easier.
Make notes about each home
Aside from ticking off your checklist, jot down notes about each home you visit. Doing this will help you remember important details of the home, such as things that were not included in the listing or potential problems that the house may have. You can also write down how you feel about the house so that you can have an easier time comparing your options at the end of the day. Unless you are touring only one home, it can be pretty difficult to remember all the details without writing them down.
Even if the listing already has all the pictures you need, it is still a good idea to take a few pictures on your own. You can better remember certain details of each property you look at if you have pictures of them saved on your phone. Aside from that, you can take pictures of potential issues that you can bring up to the seller when negotiating prices.
Avoid bringing small children
If you have small children, bringing them along on a house tour will likely distract you from the main task at hand. Apart from that, touring homes can be very tiring for them, and that means you will be tired, too. Leave them at home with a babysitter instead or bring them to daycare.
On the other hand, if you have children aged six and above, it may be better to bring them along since they will also live in the house you choose. Keep in mind that moving can be particularly stressful for children, and making them feel involved in the decision can minimise at least some of the negative feelings they have about moving.
Limit the number of tours per day
It may seem like a good idea to tour as many houses as you can in one day, but seeing so many in a short amount of time can make it harder to decide on the perfect home to buy. Not to mention that it can be draining, especially if your prospective houses are far apart from each other.
Instead, limit the tours to four or five per day, depending on the distance between each one. Talk to your real estate agent about the best order with which to tour the houses so that you can maximise your time (and gas) for every property on the list.
Narrow down your choices before touring
It is not always feasible nor practical to narrow down your choices only when you start touring houses. If you have a lot of properties on your list, try to eliminate at least some options without having to see them in person.
Take advantage of virtual tours
Thanks to modern virtual reality technology, you can now tour properties without leaving your home. Many listings come with virtual tours that allow you to “walk through” the property at your own pace. Some even have guided virtual tours wherein you can listen to someone describing key features as you go along, just like a real house tour.
Alternatively, you can ask your real estate agent to come to the property on their own and take you on tour virtually through a video conferencing program.
Touring homes doesn’t have to be as difficult as it seems. With these strategies, not only can you find the perfect home much easier—but you can also save a lot of time, money, and energy in the process.