Selecting your dream home can be an exciting process, but it can also be a little overwhelming. Visiting house after house can be tiring, and after awhile, all the houses may start to blend together, making it difficult to make a decision.
That’s why it’s a good idea to get organized. By preparing yourself ahead of time, you will get much more out of the property tour, meaning you’ll be better equipped to make those big decisions involved in buying a home. Here’s how to make the most of a property tour.
Have a Budget
For most people, the budget is the single largest constraint in making a home purchasing decision. Knowing what you can and can’t afford will narrow down the properties that are accessible to you, and it will save you from wasting time looking at properties that are not a realistic option. It’s a good idea to sit down with a mortgage broker or lender to set your budget before viewing properties.
Know What You Want…
You probably have a few ideas about what you want in a home – and what you don’t. Take some time to sit down and outline your “needs” (e.g., enough bedrooms to accommodate your kids, a particular location, etc.) and your “wants” (e.g. a two-car garage, a fireplace, etc.) This will help you know what to look for on your property tour, and will help you prioritize the factors that are important to you.
… But Keep an Open Mind
The truth is, it’s not always easy to find a property that ticks all the boxes and that fits your price point. Knowing what is important to you matters, but you should also be willing to be flexible. Your dream house may exist – it just may be in another neighbourhood than you were considering. Or maybe your wants and needs can be met within your goal budget, but in a town home, not a single family home.
On a property tour, you’re probably going to see a variety of properties – some perfectly tidy, others a bit of a mess; some staged, others clearly not. Some items may be distracting – a couch that is definitely not your style, family photos adorning the walls, dog toys on the floor – but remember what it is you’re buying. It’s not the couch, the photos, or the dog and its accessories; it’s the home itself. Focus on what really matters, like layout, finishes, construction, room sizes, etc.
If you’re having trouble focusing, grab a snack, a water bottle, or head outside for a fresh air break. You’ll come back feeling energized and refreshed.
Don’t be afraid to jot down some notes and comments on the property MLS sheets, in your personal planner, in your phone, etc. These notes may jog your memory later that evening when you’re having trouble differentiating between the properties.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the properties that you’re seeing. We may not know all the answers, but we can always follow up to get them for you. When you’re confident and well informed, you’re better equipped to make decisions, so ask away!