You pull into the driveway of a home you have been eyeing online for days and you're ready to tour a home, finally! The exterior looks just as it did on the internet - nice yard and you love the landscaping. So far, so good! Your Realtor opens the front door for you and smiles encouragingly. You step inside and take your first look around. Now what?
TOUR A HOME ... like a pro!
It’s important for buyers to have a good idea of what to look for when touring a home. Sure, the home may look nice and clean at first glance. The rooms may even have paint colors similar to what you would choose for your home. But don’t get lost in these minor details! Pretty decorations and nicely arranged furniture are nice, but they don’t usually stay with the house at the time of purchase. Let’s review what you should REALLY be paying attention to during a showing.
When you first pulled into the neighborhood, did you pay attention to the other homes? How do their yards look? Are they well kept? What about their exteriors? While a potential future neighbor’s home wouldn’t be your own, it is important to feel comfortable with the overall look of the community. It might also be a good idea to come back to the neighborhood at a different time. How does it look on a Saturday afternoon? Are children out playing on common grounds? Are your potential neighbors cutting the grass, giving you a friendly wave as you drive by? If you are seriously considering submitting an offer, all of these things are important to explore. If you see a neighbor while you are out and about in the neighborhood, feel free to take full advantage of the chance to get insider information! Introduce yourself, ask how long they’ve been in the neighborhood and how they like it. Just be careful - you may want to pick and choose what you take to heart. Just because they are happy/ unhappy with something does not mean you will be too!
At first glance the exterior looked to be clean and the shutters matched the door very nicely. But did you think to check the gutters? If it’s raining, check the drain rate and make sure the water is flowing away from the home. Also, take a close look at the siding and paint. Does it appear to be in good condition?
What is the natural light like throughout the home? Which way is the home facing? If it’s facing west you will get the morning sun in the back of the house and the afternoon sun in the front. So, if you love summer afternoon cookouts this means you likely will have shade on your back patio while you grill which may be preferable to you. Or, you may prefer an east facing home if your bedroom windows are in the front of the home and you love waking up to sunlight streaming into your room.
Do the windows look old? Are they cracked? Replacing windows can be a large expense you may want to factor in before purchasing a home. Do you see any wet spots on the ceilings? Wet spots could indicate a leak.
Will your king bed fit comfortably in the master bedroom? Will your large L-shaped couch work in the family room? Where will you hang your 60 inch TV? You can always purchase new furniture here and there, but if the home doesn’t work for most of your belongings you may want to keep looking. Also, don’t just look around. SMELL around. While many homes (thankfully) smell like a Yankee candle, others may smell like mold, cigarettes, or stinky pets. Make sure to pay attention to smells while touring the home. While the “stinky pet” smell may go away when the current owners move out, things like mold and smoking won’t disappear as easily, and getting rid of it may cost you.
Is there ample parking for your vehicles? What about for your guests? Is the garage large enough? Be sure to check any neighborhood requirements as they relate to recreational vehicles if you’re an RV family, and make note of how comfortably your family’s vehicles will fit in the driveway.
Feel free to flush a toilet or turn on a faucet to gauge water pressure! While a low water pressure doesn’t need to be a game-changer for a home, it’s always good to know as much as possible ahead of placing an offer to purchase.
When viewing a potential home, be mindful of your possible commute. Check out what the community is like at 5pm on a Monday. Does the community get congested and do the roads near the home fill with traffic? You may also want to take a drive to the closest grocery store and if you have children in the home, navigate to the neighborhood school. Getting a feel of what daily life would be like if you lived in the home is critical.
Your Realtor can help you assess a potential home for many of these items, so don’t hesitate to ask them questions! Make sure to take your time looking at a home and try not to rush. Really ask yourself, can you see yourself living in the home? Can you visualize yourself in the kitchen preparing dinner, while your children or your guests play and enjoy the backyard? Can you envision hosting Thanksgiving in the dining room, sipping coffee on the porch? If yes, then you may have just found the home that is right for you. If not, keep looking, the right home may be just around the corner!
Following these simple steps on how to tour a home will help you feel more confident about your decision to place an offer on a home.
Looking for a real estate team who has you as their first and primary focus? We'd love to help. Call Naomi at 571-482-7356 or Stephanie at 703-963-1317!!