The Secret to Looking at Homes Like a Pro!

When you’re pre-approved by a lender and ready to start your home search, you want to be smart and prepared. That’s because searching for homes can be exhausting and overwhelming. And all the properties you look at can begin to meld together in your mind.

How to Look for New Homes

When looking at homes for sales, there is a right way and a wrong way. Yep, I said it. Let me show you the right way to look at homes so you can be sure you’re buying the right house for you and your family.

Act Like you Own the Place

When most people go on their home search, they go in home after home walking around like they’re a guest. That’s because they are. But unfortunately, what happens is they never focused on what it’s like to really live in that place.

For example, how’s the water pressure in that beautiful custom waterfall shower? The only way to find out is to turn it on. This may seem a little unorthodox but most home owners don’t mind this kind of hands on approach. As long as it doesn’t involve rummaging in their stuff. That’s because they put that gorgeous shower head in their bathroom and certainly want you, the potential buyer, to appreciate it, too.

This also goes for lighting. Turn on every light in the house to see if there are any dark spots in the house you just can’t live with.  And when it comes to the plumbing, don’t stop with the showers. Make sure the hot water comes on quickly and the pressure is good in the kitchen and other sinks, too.

Open windows and see how well they open and close. There’s nothing worse than a sticky window. Also in the winter months, you can feel for drafts in the windows.

Put on Your Listening Ears

During your search you want to slow down long enough to listen for sounds – in the house and outside. Is there a noisy dog who hasn’t stopped barking yet? Are you in a condo where you can hear the pitter-patter of adult feet? Or is the guy across the street blasting his music while he’s cleaning the garage. All these can be indicators of an annoying problem if you buy that house.

Get Outside

After you preview the inside, and you still love the house – it’s time to take the show on the road. Start by driving around the neighborhood. Then get out and park so you can take a stroll through your prospective neighborhood.

See if the neighbors are friendly or drive too fast through the streets. Are there lots of kids or a bunch of young professional types? And if after all that, you still love the neighborhood – come back later. Drive through again on a Saturday or an evening after work. This can tell you a lot about a neighborhood.

One final thing to look at if you want to go through the trouble, is drive back to that home during rush hour. Or better yet, drive there straight home from work and see if that drive home is something you can live with.

Have you been pre-approved to buy your home yet? If not, find out how much you are pre-approved to buy by filled out our simple pre-approval form HERE.

Is It Must or Lust? 3 Ways to Win in Your Home Search

When you get the green light by your lender to start searching for properties, the excitement can quickly become all-consuming. Your heart is filled with all the dreams in the world.

It’s really easy to get caught up in the “I have to have ___________,  so I’ll cut back somewhere else ” game, even when you don’t actually know where that somewhere else is or if you can realistically cut back there.

How to Narrow Your Property Search

Understanding how to know the difference between a must-have or a lust-have will be the key to winning in your home search and finding the house of your dreams AND reality.

Make Your List of Lusts

Start by getting everyone in the family together on the couch and have each person make a list of everything they want in your house. This ‘il be fun! 😉

Think of the things you lust after on your Instagram feed. If you love it, jot it down. 

Once you and your partner (and the kids) have everything down, make a new list starting in order from things you want most to least. Do you need more space? Do you need a big yard? A walk-in closet? You get the point. 

Narrow your list down to your top 10, and then compare your list to your partner’s top 10. What things appear on both lists? Those items should carry more weight because you both want them in your home.

Now Highlight Your Musts

This is the part where you decide those things you strongly consider as “non-negotiable.”

  • For example, if your family must live in a particular school district, location will become a Must for you.
  • If you have a large family or run a home-based business, a certain number of rooms could be a Must for your family.
  • Your Non-negotiable list should be fairly short to give you enough variety in your home search. With home inventories being so low, compromise will often be needed.

Bring Your List When You Look at a Home

As you’re out looking at houses, keep your list handy. Maybe you’re not willing to give up hardwood floors for a jetted tub, but would you be willing to compromise for a jetted tub and extra square footage? Refer back to your must-haves list often. It’s easy to get distracted.

Here’s a quick checklist that I use when searching for a home. If you answer “yes” to all of these, then a “Lust” may be worth the splurge — that is, if you can be sure that you’ll be able to afford the feature (in terms of your monthly mortgage payments and living expenses).

  • Is it on both of your lists?
  • Is it something that’ll be extremely expensive and difficult to change or add?
  • Would you be willing to sacrifice something else to have it?
  • Would you feel like your house would be incomplete without it?

Searching for homes doesn’t have to be overwhelming or complicated. Using this simple process will keep you and your family on track to what you really want and will hopefully reduce conflict along the way. And we could all use some of that, right?

What are some of your MUSTS or LUSTS? Share them in the comments below and have a little fun!