House Hunting Checklist

Dated: April 15 2020

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Why is a House Hunting Checklist Essential?

Imagine running around the grocery store, looking for dozens of items that you need for dinner, but you forgot your checklist. How much longer is this now going to take you? And how many items are you going to forget?

When looking at a home, it's really no different. Having a clear goal and a good checklist can make you more efficient and keep you focused on what's most important in the home tour. By keeping your thoughts organized, you are less likely to miss something. No doubt, your eyes are going to take in way more information than your brain can process or even remember, so having these notes to refer back to at the end of the day is going to prove to be a lifesaver. I'd also recommend at the end of each tour, give the home a letter grade. At the end of the day, this will help you remember which homes that you liked.


Familiarize Yourself with the Neighborhood & Local Community

Your checklist should start with you familiarizing yourself with the neighborhood and the local community. Get in your car and take a drive around. Make sure that the area offers everything that you want and need, such as restaurants, entertainment, recreation, and job opportunities. If you have kids, make sure you research the schools and ratings. And then what about the neighborhood itself? What is the average age of the home? Are the lots small or spacious? Does it have an HOA? And how much does that cost every year? And will that also include golf, tennis, or even swimming? Don't be afraid to talk to the neighbors. I think we all know neighbors love to talk, and they're usually your best source of information about what's really going on.

I'd also suggest coming back at different times. Try visiting in the evening, on the weekends, and even on holidays, because coming back at different times can be very insightful as to what goes on in the neighborhood and in the local community. Also, make sure you take note in your drive of any annoyances that are close by, such as highways, airports, train tracks, or anything else that might cause a disturbance.

Start by Inspecting the Exterior

It's always so exciting to go and look at a new house for the first time. You pull up into the driveway and you're ready to pop out of the car and go into the house. However, I would recommend first looking at the outside of the property. You're already outside, and it will give you a couple of minutes to settle down those emotions so that when you do go in, you're a little bit more prepared to focus. Start at the beginning of the home, note the landscaping and design. As you walk around, look at the roof and gutters, doors and windows, siding and paint, and the AC condenser. Make sure fences, retaining walls and decks are in good working condition, and survey the lot and see if the land is sloping towards the house or towards the basement. Take your time in walking around, and make sure you write down any questions that you have. If at some point you do decide to make an offer on this home, having those questions during an inspection will be very valuable.

Check Out the Interior DetailsOkay. Now that you're done walking around the outside of the property, it's time to go in. As you make your way inside, take time to stop and not only look at the design of the house, but see how it makes you feel. They say you know if a house is yours within the first seven seconds of walking in. As you explore, use your checklist to note the color, condition and material of the floors, walls and ceilings. Yes, you may have to rewind that once or twice because that was a mouthful. But it actually does cover a tremendous amount of ground when you're using that checklist.

As you start to get familiar with the property, really check out the layout. See its functionality and make sure it's something that's going to work for you. Since it's so difficult to remember the layout of every property, especially only after being in it one time, I would highly suggest taking a video as you're walking through to help jog your memory. So as you move into the nitty-gritty and start looking at the specific characteristics of each room, don't be afraid to open doors and cabinets, and look into closets and pantries. And as tedious as it may seem, make sure you're jotting down notes about some of the more overlooked items like baseboards and crown molding, light fixtures, and doors and knobs. When you're reviewing your notes later, this attention to detail will be invaluable.

And remember, if you have any questions as you're going through the property, just ask your agent. 


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Misty Harris

Meet Misty Harris - a U.S Army Veteran and licensed professional REALTOR with JP & Associates Realtors Metro Atlanta. Misty has always been passionate about real estate. It began with her admiration ....

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