Finding your new home is a fun and exciting time. It’s a time when you can reassess your lifestyle and see what’s working and what’s not so you can be more prepared to take your life to the next level. One of the best ways to get a feel for your next new home is to tour open houses. Touring open houses gives insight on how all of the different floor plans, built-in home accessories, and locations can impact your life. The problem is, a lot of people simply see an open house sign, go in, and look around without any set intentions. If your hobby is seeing the inside of homes that are out of your financial reach, keep at it! However, if you have a goal of buying a new home, it’s a good idea to come with a plan. In this article, we will dive into a comprehensive guide to touring open houses so you can find your dream home fast.
A lot of people think that all you need to do when touring open houses is show up. While there is some benefit to coming without any expectations, you’re not looking at open houses for fun. To make sure that you’re making the most of your time, it’s a good idea to come prepared. Start by doing some research online. Look at houses that you would want to see in-person and start constructing your dream-home list. There are some things that homeowners would like to have in their new home but aren’t deal breakers but identifying your deal breakers will help you be more efficient during your search. If this is your first home, you might not know what your deal breakers are so consider doing some research on what other people consider must-haves. If you have any specific hobbies or lifestyles that you want reflected in your home, make a note of it. It might sound over the top, but the best way for you to keep all of this organized is to create a checklist and bring a copy of it with you on your open houses. That way, you can walk through and make note of what’s missing, what’s there, and whether or not you’re willing to make the compromise.
Next, start searching online for homes in your budget. Get a realistic idea of what you can and can’t afford so you don’t tour an open house that’s not attainable. While sometimes it’s fun to explore houses that are way out of budget, it can also set you up for disappointment and create unrealistic expectations on your house hunt. Take the time to make your budget and make a deal with your partner to stick to it.
Once you figure out your wants and needs and your budget, it’s time to find a real estate agent you can trust. There are so many benefits of having a real estate agent—they do most of the heavy lifting for you and are able to find houses that meet your criteria and your budget. Plus, when you work with a real estate agent that puts your needs first, you’ll get honest feedback as to when to walk away—even if you think it’s your dream home. Real estate agents are trained at finding homes, so if they say something is wrong then you should probably listen to them.
Do a Little Shopping
If you’ve identified your basic list of what you’re looking for and set a budget, now you can start to attend open houses just to see what your options are. Try to stick within your budget but go to as many open houses as you can to help refine your ultimate list of wants and needs. In the past, open houses were fairly easy to attend. However, with the rise of COVID-19, there are new protocols being put in place to ensure the safety of homeowners and buyers alike. Now, many people are switching to virtual open houses. This is a major shift for the real estate industry and will likely take some time to fine tune the details, but for now it gives you a great opportunity to look at more houses with a very minimal time commitment.
Getting the Most Out of a Virtual Open House
To get the most out of your virtual open house you need to make sure that you have a good device to view it on. While smartphones are convenient, the screen is fairly small and might not allow you to see all of the details. If you have a laptop or desktop, use that instead. Then figure out whether or not you’re interested in viewing live virtual houses, which are more interactive in nature, or static videos where you can just walk through the listing on your own. Each agent is going to be different and might only offer one or the other but be patient and give it time. We expect a ton of development in this region over the next few months and soon virtual open houses are going to be the new normal. If you’re old fashion and prefer to take a walk through of the home, talk to the agent about setting up a private or self-guided tour of the home so that you can adhere to social distancing rules. For whatever you choose, just make sure you’re following the proper guidelines. You can read more about the open house guidance during COVID-19 here.
Pay Attention to Detail
While paying attention to the small details can be a little difficult during virtual tours, if you’re serious about buying, you’ll be able to see it in person before finalizing anything. When you do look at the house in person, there are some specifics that you’ll want to keep an eye on to make sure that you don’t buy a home with serious damages or neglect. Look at both the ceiling and the baseboards of the home for any signs of damage, warping, or cracking. This could indicate water damage from bad plumbing or a faulty roof. Check all of the cabinets, even if it seems tedious, to see if there are any indications of mold and/or rusting pipes. If you notice a lot of area rugs on hardwood floors, lift them up so you can see what the floors look like without any covering. Sometimes, rugs are used to try and hide damage during open houses, but you have every right to fully understand what’s for sale. Make sure you take the time to open and close windows and check for any drafts. If you’re interested in doing some remodeling projects, keep this in mind during your walk through.
Another thing that you should pay special attention to is closet space. Closet space is often overlooked in the grand scheme of things, but is extremely important once you actually move in. Consider how much stuff you have and then check the closets. It’s always better to have more than you need, but it can be extremely frustrating to be stuck needing more space. However, if you find that the closet space is lacking and you love everything else about the house, it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. You can easily add more storage by getting a self storage unit like the ones at The Lock Up Self Storage.
Finally, make sure you ask questions during your open house. Don’t feel bad for doing this, it’s extremely important that you get all of the information you need out of an open house. Ask whether or not there are any current problems with the home and obtain a copy of the seller’s disclosure. If you want to move forward with buying the home, don’t do so until you’ve gotten a home inspection to make sure that you don’t buy a home riddled with problems. Ask about local schools, the neighborhood, and crime rates. Some people also find it helpful to know why a homeowner has decided to sell, so feel free to talk to the agent openly.
Whether you’re staging your home for an open house or looking to make a move, don’t forget that you can use self storage units to your advantage. The Lock Up Self Storage is here to help you keep your home clutter-free without sacrificing anything. Our temperature controlled self storage units come in a variety of sizes to meet any needs and budgets. All of The Lock Up Self Storage facilities are secure and have numerous added safety features. Our locations are equipped with coded access gates, perimeter alarms, and 24/7 video monitoring to keep you and your belongings safe at all times. No matter what your storage solution needs are, you’ll find them at The Lock Up Self Storage. Give us today at (866) 327-LOCK to find a climate controlled self storage unit near you or simply enter your city on our homepage.