There are lots of tips and lists out there for house hunting – we’ve narrowed it down to the ones we think are the most helpful, unique and fun. Here are our top tips to help you be successful when you’re heading out to open houses.
You may think you’re just going to pop into an open house for fun when suddenly you realize you’ve got to have the house! That’s why it’s so important to be prepared when you go house hunting. That means getting pre-approved for a mortgage before your start your search. Then you’ll be ready to put in an offer on a home you like.
Go When Everyone Else is Busy
If you’d rather be watching the Superbowl or going out for a hike, chances are everyone else does, too. Big game today? Is Beyonce in town? Is it 75 degrees and sunny? Go house hunting! Savvy, scrappy homebuyers get out there when the competition is eating hot wings and getting sunburned.
Check Out All the Nooks and Crannies
Feel free to get a little snoopy: pull back rugs to check out the floors, open cabinets and drawers, look behind appliances and furniture to check for leaks or cracks in the walls, run water through faucets to check the pressure. Looking at a place like you’re an inspector is a great way to make sure the home is in good shape, and you’ll feel more confident about putting an offer in.
Try Not to Fall in Love
Buying is an emotional process. If you fall in love with one particular house, it’s easy to spend more than you budgeted for or get crushed if you don’t get that home. And once the heartbreak happens, you run the risk of overlooking another great house because “that other one was so much better.” Or you could lose house hunting momentum and want to “take a break” because your dream home got away. Managing your expectations will help you to find a great home without taking too many unintentional rides on an emotional rollercoaster.
Don’t Worry About Bugging Your Agent
It’s totally their job to answer lots of questions and go to many open houses, so feel free to contact them often, and schedule a ton of showings. This is exactly what you’re paying your agent to do. Calls, text messages, emails, viewing homes on evenings and weekends are all expected. Buying a house is a big deal, they know this and they’re there to help you!
Don’t Rush Through the Open House
Take your time: do a few laps through the house, ask the agents questions, stand in the living room and stare off into space… you don’t have to feel like you need to get in and get out quickly for the sake of the agents or homeowners. Buying is a big deal. You get to take all the time you need at the open house. Pro-tip: don’t make plans right after the open house. You never know if you’ll find your dream home, so it’s important to make sure you aren’t rushing to get somewhere.
Remember Your Wants vs. Needs
It’s easy to get swept up by an amazing home with lots of features and forget your top requirements. Focus on the things you know you need and that you can’t easily change like number of bedrooms and bathrooms. You’ll want to do a gut check after an open house to make sure you aren’t compromising on the wrong things, or overspending because of a feature that’s not a necessity, like a rooftop deck, hot-tub or horse stables (hey, you never know what’ll catch your eye).
Getting Desperate is Dangerous
You could be house hunting for a while and think it’ll never happen, so you better just pick something. No! Don’t do it! If you end up hating the house you buy – you’ll really hate spending money to get rid of it: paying your selling agent, paying for closing costs on the mortgage, moving costs. All of those will have to be paid again. It’s way better to stick it out and keep looking. Keep your eye on the ball and get a home you actually want.
House hunting isn’t always easy. If you fall into a slump or get stressed out, may we recommend you take the time after an open house to get sushi, see a movie, take a nap, or make a list of the worst decor you’ve seen while house hunting? Can’t hurt to make the process more fun.
Happy house hunting!
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