Step #7: Taking a Look
Put on comfortable shoes, take a notepad and meet me to start exploring houses. If we've done our homework right, we should have a handful of serious prospect houses to see over the course of a few hours, with appointments set for each visit. Typically you'll drive your own vehicle, but I'll be able to guide you in my car if you're unfamiliar with the area. I'll give you detailed information about each house we visit, and will provide electronic access to the houses we'll look at so there will be a record of when we've come and gone.
As you explore, try to measure your impressions of what you see using your lists of "Wants" and "Needs." It's harder to do than you might think, because you'll be naturally curious about furnishings, decor items, personal pictures, and all the other elements of personal property that aren't actually part of the real estate. You're getting a rather personal glimpse into the life of strangers, and it can be a distraction. Try to stay focused on your goal of finding a home that fits your lifestyle, not someone else's.
I'll have specific suggestions on things to check in the houses we explore, and you'll learn to be a shrewd house-shopper as we continue. I recommend that you take notes as you go (NOT pictures - homes are private property), so you can keep track of things you want to remember or check later.
Be prepared to find a complicated combination of things you like and dislike in the houses we explore. Remember that no house is perfect, but you'll start to realize that some are closer to perfect than others. Don't be surprised if your shopping partner has opinions that differ from yours, too. The differences often become great subjects for discussion.
As we tour houses, you will establish a basis upon which to make comparisons. You'll find yourself thinking, "we'd rather have the partial furnished basement in the first house than a full unfinished one in the second house," or "this casual dining area makes more sense than formal dining room in the last house we looked at." Pay special attention to the comparisons - They will become the building blocks of the decision-making process.
Our tour of homes will have one of three outcomes: 1. One house stands out as a clear favorite, 2. Answers to key questions are needed to sort out your favorites(s), or 3. You learned a lot, but haven't found what you're looking for yet. No matter what the outcome, I can get you to the next step, whether it's beginning the process of making an offer, getting the answers you need, or finding more houses worth a look.
Your Key Step - Taking a Look:
Measure houses against your lists of "Wants" and "Needs," and compare candidates to refine your preferences.