Viewing homes takes preparation. You are likely to spend time seeing a lot of houses, which can lead to confusion (“which house had the red bathroom?”). Preparing for a showing can help you make the most of your time, and make the best decision on which home to make an offer on.
Before Scheduling the Tour
To make best use of your time, you should have a good idea of the community(ies) you will be looking in. Take time to drive through the community and familiarize yourself with the neighborhoods and key services. Where is the train station, the grocery store, houses of worship, parks, community pool? If you can, visit the community at various times, during commuter hours, on the weekend, even after dark, to get a sense of traffic patterns, noise levels, safety of the community.
Before calling your agent to request a showing, make sure all key decision makers will be available. If you have young children, consider arranging for child care. A disruptive child can result in damage to the seller’s possessions, or distract you from viewing the home, leading to confusion or missing key details of a house.
There are often conflicts in trying to schedule showings. Be flexible and provide several time windows when all key decision makers are available for the showing. Viewing more than 4-5 homes in a tour also results in difficulty remembering the details of individual homes. Try to keep showings to 5 or fewer homes in a single tour.
Before Setting off on the Tour
Before setting off for the tour, confirm with your agent the location and time of the first showing. If the tour will last more than 2 hours, have water and snacks available in the car. Bring a pen and notepad to take notes. Use the bathroom before you go. Many sellers ask that bathrooms not be used, and vacant homes may have the water turned off. If you are traveling a long distance, ask to meet the agent at their office first, so you can use the bathroom there.
If using your phone to videostream a showing for a decision maker who isn’t present, or as a GPS device, make sure it is fully charged. Check for traffic conditions, road closures and other potential roadblocks before setting off. Text your agent if you are running late, they may have to reorder showings if a particular home will not be available if you arrive late.
During the Tour
In addition to room layout and sizes, condition is an important aspect of a home. Your agent should point out any issues they see in the home. If you are concerned about any item, make a note of it. Sometimes the sellers, or their agent may be present for the showing. Even if they are not, be aware that cameras and audio devices may be present in the home. You should hold any confidential discussions about offers and negotiations outside the home.
If you have young children with you, you may need to have one parent supervise them while the other tours the house, then switch tasks. This allows you to focus on the home.
As you proceed through the tour, discard any listing sheets for homes that are a definite “No”. Use a simple rating system such as Definite, Considering or No to rate each home, and mark the Definite and Considering homes directly on the listing sheet. Make notes of any questions, and key aspects of homes that you like or are considering.
After the Tour
Let your agent know which homes from the tour are Definites or Considerings. Provide specific feedback on what you liked or didn’t like about the homes, to help your agent refine your search criteria. Make sure the agent has a list of your questions for each property, and set a time to discuss answers they receive. Then set a time for all decision makers to meet to discuss whether you are ready to make any offers.
These guidelines can help you make the most of your showing tours. If you are ready to start your home purchase adventure, contact me at 973-462-4079, I’m ready to help. Remember, when you find Tim, you’ll find home!