First, admit to yourself that you may not know everything. If you just glanced over that last statement, start this paragraph over again. Why am I making you re-read it? Because when you are viewing a house, you are not likely to take in every little detail which may make or break your purchase. It's Dangerous To Go Alone! Take This.
You will need the following items when you are ready to go visit houses:
- A Trusted Friend - Take along a friend whose taste you trust. This person will be your sounding board, and an extra set of eyes.
- A Camera - You will not remember everything, take a picture of things you like, and things you do not.
- MLS Paperwork - The sheets you printed out from the last article.
- Pen - You will want to take notes at each location and make a pros and cons list of each property.
You will know whether you want or do not want a house as soon as you enter it. The rest of the tour just reinforces your initial opinion. You will be looking at the proverbial "lipstick on a pig"; painted walls, cleaned carpets, and basic furniture layouts. Do not let this happen.
Going to your first house will be an overwhelming experience. On your first visit the the house, try to ignore the flashy elements and concentrate on the concrete line items the house brings to the table. It may have 2 bathrooms, but is one out of the way? Does the layout make sense with your furniture items or lifestyle? You will be looking at the house from a "how can I live here" point of view.
Your friend has a very important role as well. He or she will be responsible for viewing the house from a "how can you live here" point of view. He or she should know your strengths, your weaknesses, and be a normalizer. You might be blinded by the hot tub or spa on the deck, your friend should remind you that the small kitchen cannot support a dishwasher.
On a good day, your realtor may take you to see somewhere between five (5) and eight (8) homes. For each house you visit, you should take a picture of it from the streets, the front door, and develop a light pros and cons list. Wash, rinse, repeat.
After a while, they will all start to blend together. Use this to your advantage. If you can not remember a house, it may not have been right for you. At the end of the day and at the end of each outing, keep a running binder of your top five (5) houses and throw the rest away.