Shopping for a new home can be fun! And exhausting. And stressful. It’s like going on lots of dates with hope that you’ll find The One. Except you only get to go on one date with the house and you have to trust that everything the house’s last partner tells you about it is accurate. No pressure. But once you find The One, how do you make sure you’re not making a mistake? Follow these three steps and avoid marrying the wrong house.
1. Visit The House Multiple Times- First, let’s throw the one date rule out the window. Have your Realtor® schedule multiple showings so you can see the house again and again. The seller of the home may not be your biggest fan but he or she will get over it. I mean you’re deciding on the biggest purchase of your life, you should be allowed to look at it again. Walk through the house at least three separate times before making an offer. If it’s possible, schedule one of your showings during a rainy day so you can see how the home and yard react to the rain. If the entire backyard becomes a gigantic mud puddle, that could be a problem. If the garage allows water to leak in, that could be a problem. Also schedule one of your showings at night so you can see what the house looks like in the dark. Is there a street light that shines through your bedroom window? Do the neighbors hang out on their deck blasting loud music? On your own time, drive through the neighborhood at different times of the day and on different days of the week to see what exactly the community is like when everyone is home. If you see neighbors outside, say hello and ask them about the neighborhood. They may share some information that the seller hasn’t.
2. Visualize Living There- During one of your showings, take some time and really visualize you and your family living in the home. Walk through a typical day and routine activities. Examples might be carrying the groceries into the kitchen. Does it require carrying them up a flight of stairs? How about doing laundry? Do you have to walk downstairs or across the house? What about the master bathroom? Can you perform your morning routine in the space with no problems? What is parking like? Can you pull into the garage with ease? Does the kitchen layout work for preparing dinner at night? Spend plenty of time visualizing life in the house.
3. Don’t Skip Inspections- If you have a good Realtor®, he or she is going to recommend a home inspection, a wood infestation report, a survey, a septic inspection and any other professional inspection that may apply to the home. These are no joke! Yes, they do cost money and the cost certainly does add up. But in the grand scheme of things, you’re shelling out an additional $850-$1,500 for inspections on a purchase that may be $200,000 or more. I would spend $1,500 to avoid wasting $200,000 all day long. Many times the inspections come with guarantees as well so if the inspector misses something and you find out after you’ve bought the house, he or she will fix it for you. Some home inspectors will even buy the house from you so you can start all over. That is one heck of a guarantee.