House hunting is a term that’s easier to say than do. The whole home buying process is gruelling, but it can also be fun! It’s a great idea to look at many houses as you can. What’s important is you ask as many questions as you can to give as much information. Even when you’ve decided to work with an agent, it’s still best to explore on your own.
Here are some tips on how to hunt for houses especially for first-time home buyers:
Drive through the neighbourhoods you’ve picked. Once you see and like houses that have ‘for sale’ signs, try calling the numbers provided on the signs. If you’re working with an agent, you can ask your agent for information on those houses.
Visit new home subdivisions. Even if you are working on a tight budget, it’s still not a completely bad idea to visit new subdivisions. It’s better if you can see all the new construction within your area.
Find sales by owners. When you see a sales sign that says ‘For Sale By Owner’, these listings are called ‘Fisbos’ by real estate agents. Some Fisbos are overpriced for the market. Owners of these houses really love their homes and they hold such a high value for their properties. Your agent will be able to help you determine the fair market value for these houses and they can also evaluate the house’s condition so you don’t end up paying more than you should.
Take photos. If you are planning to drive around, it’s best that you keep a camera on standby. It’s better to take photos and organize them into folders. A memory fades quickly – photos and videos will definitely come handy especially when you’re choosing from different homes.
Check everything. When hunting for houses, make sure you’re not looking at the exteriors. Check the ceilings, walls, trim, windows, roof, floors, even the sinks, etc. Don’t just focus on what you’re seeing. Make the effort to check out those that aren’t usually checked.
Visit the properties at different times of day. If you’ve seen the property on a morning, make it a point to go at an afternoon or an evening if you do decide to go to a second showing. This way, you can also learn a lot about the neighbourhood – if it gets too noisy, if there are kids playing outside, etc. Going at different times also shows you different things about the house you’re planning to buy.
Visualize. Whenever you visit a property, you can already envision how you want it to look like when it’s your time to own it. If there are, let’s say, three bedrooms and you only need one or two, you can make the third bedroom into an office, a nursery, or a home gym – it’s all up to you. You can put your imagination to good use and imagine what paint colours you’d want, the furniture arrangements, etc.