- REALTORs are paid to take great photos and sometimes the photos are better than the house.
- Do you live in a wet area? Viewing a home during the spring melt or rainy season can help you pinpoint a dry basement.
- Do you want a quiet street? Have your REALTOR book the showings in the evenings to see how many children are playing in the street or if there is enough parking for your guests.
- Do graveyards give you the heebie-jeebies? Where is the home in relation to one?
- Is the neighbour running a chop shop out of his garage?
So let's call a sitter and book some houses and get this party started...
Unlike HGTV, actual REALTORs do not unlock the front door and then stand outside while you wander around the house. That is so wrong on so many levels that it would take all day to go through them. You hired me to help you find a home and part of my job is to show you homes and point out any highs or lows about those homes and their location. When we are looking at homes it helps to take notes, either with a notepad, on the MLS info sheet or dictated into your phone for later reference. If you read my blog "I just want to sell my house!" you will know that we sometimes name homes so that we can remember them. But please, if you wish to take your own photos ask first, we need to make sure the owner doesn't mind.
So here is a short but comprehensive list of features to consider when you are looking around and remember - this is just our first look to see if the house is even on the maybe list:
- As you walk up the sidewalk, look at the shingles, are they curled? How does the siding look?
- Is the entrance large enough for you to bring your children (if you have them) in quickly in foul weather?
- Is there an entrance from the garage and is that important to you?
- Does the kitchen workspace meet your needs? Is there enough storage for your gadgets?
- Take note of the appliances, are they better than yours? Are they clean? Are they included?
- Are the bedrooms where you want them and are there enough?
- Are the floors in good shape?
- Take a peek at the windows, is there condensation between the panes? Can you wave to your neighbour through the bedroom windows? (maybe you like that, who am I to judge?)
- Does the backyard meet your expectation of privacy or play space?
- Check out the downstairs, is it bright or is it a dungeon? Does it smell musty or feel damp?
- Is there enough storage for your Christmas decorations or room for your hobby or exercise equipment?
- In the utility room we want to look at the age of the furnace, hot water tank and check for any signs of water leakage.
Got all that? It looks like a lot to remember but most of it is intuitive and don't worry, if you think this home is on the maybe list then we will come back for a longer, more thorough look. However there are a few important unwritten rules I wish to impart: #1 If you don't like the house from the moment you step in, that is fine, we can move on. Your time is valuable, just let me go around and turn off the lights and drop my business card and we can carry on to the next home. And #2 look at the house - not the stuff in it. We have a saying in Real Estate: people don't buy the house, they buy the lifestyle it portrays. So you need to be careful when you are looking. We tell our clients to declutter and to stage, so you need to look past their furniture and decorations and try to picture your own because, and trust me on this, that gorgeous house is not going to be that gorgeous on possession day when it's naked! It's kind of like when you were young and foolish and brought someone home from the bar...