The average home buyer tours 10 homes before they find their dream home. That's quite a few homes and unless you have a phenomenal memory, it can be hard to remember all the details of a home. Good note taking can keep you organized and keep you from forgetting the good and the not so good about the homes you visit. But what exactly should you be writing down?
What's your Agent Looking at?
Ask your agent what they are looking for so you can keep track of the same things. Why? This can help you assess how well your agent is finding homes that really suit your needs. For example, if you want a lush green lawn and your agent is just bringing you to homes with desert landscaping – it may be time to clear up communication. In addition to ensuring you're both on the same page, taking a note of the things your agent is can make you a more savvy buyer. For instance, your agent will most likely keep track of how many people are signing in at an open house to gauge how many people may be interested, which can help inform your negotiation strategy.
Take Note of Size
Most homes come with a spec sheet, it's important to review the exact dimensions of rooms since good staging may trick your eyes.
Don't Ignore Your Gut Feeling
Just as important as practicality is how your future home makes you feel. Make a note of how a home makes you feel when you walk in – good or bad. In addition, note why you get that feeling, was it the bay window in the master bedroom, the spacious entryway, the scary basement? Don't wait until you leave to make note of these feelings so the homes don't just start to blend together.
Rate the Home 1-10
Establish your list of must-haves in your future home – before you start viewing homes. Each time you visit a home, rate each must-have from 1-10 with 10 being "better than desired". For example, if you have to have 3 bedrooms, a 3 bedroom home gets an 8 and a home with more bedrooms may get a 10. After you are done touring homes – tally all the scores across all the homes to see which has the highest score on the things that matter most to you. Getting a perfect score isn't the goal, you're looking for something with the best balance of everything you want and allows you to stop looking and write an offer.
Take photos of everything and anything that jumps out at you. Don't rely on listing photos, as most agents will take the most flattering photos possible. Going through the photos you took once you leave a home can help you remember details you may have forgotten like the weird laundry room layout or the perfect dual-faucet sink. Photos can also help you address concerns in your offer that may affect sales price.
Note Renovations You'd Like to Make
Very few homes are perfect, you are most likely going to want to make some changes, cosmetic or more serious. Once you figure out which renovations your future home may need, do some research to find out how much they will cost. Add any other must change items like paint, replacement gutters, or even new furniture you'll need to fill out a bigger home. Having even a basic idea of how much your new home will cost after purchase, can help you decide if you can really afford it or not.
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