How to Stay Focused While House Hunting
House hunting can be an exciting experience, but it can also be overwhelming. Here are our top tips for staying focused while on the hunt for a new home.
Know Your Non-Negotiables
It is important to understand what you would like in a home versus what you need. When searching for a home, you should be clear on the things that are non-negotiable deal-breakers.
As the name suggests, this should be a list of features that are absolutely required. If you have your heart set on a walk-in pantry or wrap-around porch, but can live without them, then leave them off of this list.
Non-negotiable lists typically encompass maximum price, minimum number of bedrooms and bathrooms, general square footage, and type of home (e.g. condo, single family). If you require a certain part of town due to school districts or commute concerns, then put it on the list as well.
Know Your Preferences
While searching for a new home, it is important to keep an open mind and remain flexible. However, it is still advisable to have a clear sense of what you want. So, after you know your deal-breaker items, you can then create a list of what you would prefer in a home. For example, do you desire a fireplace, or hardwood floors? Would you prefer dual sinks in the master bedroom, or a daylight basement that could be converted to a rental down the road? Do you plan on doing any renovations, and if so, what is your budget? Would you prefer turn-key, or are you prepared to put some work into the home?
Figure out how important each of these features are to you, and what you would be willing to compromise on.
We suggest taking notes while you continue your house hunt as a helpful to keep track of what you have seen while house hunting.Your notes should help you recall details of each home you have seen, without features blurring together or being forgotten entirely.
So, what should you write in your notes? Some ideas include how you feel when you walk into the house, what you love, what you dislike, what repairs are needed, any hidden expenses or maintenance costs, and any other features that stand out to you. Don’t forget that you can (and should) take pictures, too!
Whatever your style, just be sure to take notes and track your experiences with each house so that you can recall with more accuracy later.
Pro tip: Organize your non-negotiables and home preferences (from tips 1 and 2) into a spreadsheet or checklist you can use for each property you visit. This gives you an objective, consistent way to compare each home and stay organized.
Review Your Notes
What good is taking notes if you aren’t going to review them? Be sure to review your notes regularly, analyze the information you have obtained, and revise your list of preferences. Over the course of house hunting you may realize that your preferences aren’t realistic for your price point, or that you really don’t have your heart set on vaulted ceilings afterall. By continually reviewing and revising your priorities, you will be more focused and efficient.
Finding the right home takes time, and there are dozens of factors to consider. However, these tips should provide some help with keeping focused while house hunting so that you can make the most informed decision.