What to look for on a home tour?

A sensible checklist:

Before you begin touring around viewing properties, research homes online and start narrowing down your must-haves versus nice-to-haves. Then try to find homes to view within your price range. When you get more serious about your house hunt, I can immediately step in and guide you through the process.

Open Houses

If you're early in your home-buying process, attending several open houses can help you get an even clearer idea of your wants and needs. Open houses are easy because you just show up and walk right in. Most open houses take place on Saturday and Sunday, usually between 1 pm and 4 pm.

      TIP: A few minutes to half-an-hour is typically enough time for open houses. If you want to spend additional time taking detailed measurements and scrutinizing every square inch, book a follow-up private tour with your real estate agent.

Private Home Tours

Privately touring a home generally requires working with a buyer's agent. A private tour is the best way to see a home in detail. Block enough time for the tour that will allow you to get a feel not only for the home itself but also for the surrounding neighbourhood. Roughly 45 minutes.

Things to look for when buying a house

Once inside a home, try everything. Follow common courtesy but don’t be shy—open and shut the cupboards, flush the toilets and whip out the measuring tape. 

Here are a few key things to look for on each tour:

  • Architectural style
  • Number, location, and size of bedrooms
  • Number, location, and size of bathrooms
  • Closet and storage space
  • Sight lines through home
  • General floorplan
  • Age and condition of appliances
  • Light switches and number of sockets in each room
  • Plumbing and water pressure
  • Amount of natural light and views, if any
  • Noise levels inside and outside the home
  • Width and types of stairways
  • Porches and decks
  • Garage and/or parking capacity
  • Proximity to neighbouring homes
  • Improvement opportunities / barriers

Don’t Forget the Exterior

Don’t forget to walk around the entire home and property. Pay attention to the age and condition of the roof and siding. Does the landscaping look like it will be a lot of work? If you don’t have a green thumb and don’t want to hire a gardener every month, you may want to look for a home with easy outdoor upkeep.

Take Notes and Photos

It’s easy to get homes mixed up so take photos, videos, and notes on each tour. Photograph features you particularly like and dislike about each home, and share these insights with me. Looking through your photos and notes with fresh eyes may also trigger additional questions you have about the home.

Research the Neighbourhood

Take few minutes before or after your home tour to check out the neighbourhood. How does the neighbourhood feel? Is it bustling or quiet? Is there shopping, dining, and gas nearby? What are the schools like?

      TIP: Even if you’re not planning on having kids or if your kids are grown up, it’s important to know that homes in good school zones tend to preserve home value better and sell faster.

The Bottom Line

Home buying takes plenty of compromise and patience. It’s easy to fall in love with a home at first sight—and if you love a home, chances are everyone else will too. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but just realize that you may be up against some competition. Be prepared to make multiple offers before you find the right home at the right price.

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