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TEN HOUSE HUNTING TIPS TO HELP YOU MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE

  1. Set your priorities. Before taking a look at any houses, sit down and write out everything you want and don’t want in a home, with input from all members of the household. Then choose your top three, must-haves and can’t haves.  Once you start looking, all sorts of charming features are bound to sway you; keeping your priorities list close at hand can help you stay on track 
  2. Make a comparison chart. After you have seen a dozen or more houses, it becomes very difficult to keep track of the features in each one. Make things a little easier by creating your own comparison chart or checklist to bring along to each home, and make notes on it during or immediately after each tour.  Beyond the basics (beds and baths) consider including notes on landscaping, the condition of the roof and exterior, natural light in each room, storage space and neighbourhood.
  3. Walk through once and let yourself soak it all in. When you tour a home for the first time, the excitement can make it difficult to focus on ... well, anything at all. So I say, just go with it. Have fun, wander around and mentally note your first impressions of the space. Once the butterflies have died down, it's time to get to work.
  4. Then go back to the beginning and start again.  Look high and look low. It is important to get a good look at the house that could be your new home, so make a point of focusing on things outside your usual line of vision. Check out the ceilings, walls, floors, trim, windows, roof and under the sinks. Pull out your clipboard and pen, take your time and approach the home as if you were an inspector rather then a potential buyer.
  5. Sketch a floor plan. You do not need to have any real drawing skills to make a super basic floor plan on paper, and having it to refer to later is priceless. Just do your best. Starting at the front door, draw boxes for rooms and mark doors, windows, stairways and openings roughly where they are.
  6. Open the closets and cupboards. Proper storage is a really important factor in how a home looks and feels when you are living in it. Note the number and size of cupboards and closets throughout the house, and don't be afraid to peek inside. If the current homeowner has them packed to the gills, it may be a sign that the house doesn't have enough storage for its size.
  7. Lift up the rugs.  It is important to know what you are getting into. Rugs (and even furniture) can be used to conceal damaged flooring, so you have a right to see what's going on under there. Just let the Realtor know what you want to see, and he or she should accommodate you.
  8. Bring furniture measurements. Jumping the gun? Maybe. A deal breaker? Probably not.  Ensure there is space for that treasured piece.  But, if every room presents problems with your current furniture, you could be adding thousands of dollars to the price if you have to purchase new furniture — something that is probably better to know sooner rather than later.
  9. Take a moment to envision how you would use the space. Just because the current owner (or staging company) has the second bedroom set up for guests doesn't mean you can't use it as an office, a home gym or a nursery. Paint colors, furniture arrangements and window treatments can also all be swapped out, so use your imagination and really put yourself in the home.
  10. Check out the property at different times of day. If you do come back for a second showing, make it during a different time of day from the first tour. In the evening, notice not only the changes in light, but the atmosphere in the neighbourhood. Are people out sitting on porches? Are kids playing outside? Is it noisy? You are bound to learn and discover different things about the house each time.

 

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