So you’re getting off the sideline and into the game … ready to look at houses. You’ve been pre-approved, have a good agent, have your wants and needs figured out and you’re ready to go see the insides. What do you do?
Many homes are vacant these days. Vacant homes are easy to access, but will require some imagination to see how the home will work for you, your furniture, and your lifestyle. Take some time to visualize in the empty space how your life will flow. Imagine it in the condition you want it to be in and what it will take to get it to that point.
Don’t be bashful when looking at an occupied house. You are about to make a substantial purchase and you should know how it will work for you. Open the closets to see if they are big enough – many are surprising when you open the door. Open the kitchen drawers to see how they function. Visualize how your furniture will work in the house. They may have it set up right … or not. Don’t miss the right house because of decorating … and vice versa … don’t buy the wrong house because of decorating. Don’t like the color of the bedroom? Paint can be changed quickly so don’t pass up the right house because of the wrong paint. The same applies to carpet albeit at a greater expense than paint.
Be sure to look at the outside of the home. Go around the sides and look at the paint, siding, drainage, etc. Look at the roof – especially the southwest side in our area as that is where the prevailing weather comes from causing it to be the first part of the house to deteriorate. Check out the neighbors’ situations, i.e.- visual blight, obnoxious dogs, encroachment on the subject property, etc. The inspectors will find the physical deficiencies later, you must find the aesthetic ones when you view the property.
Look at the items that are included in the sale, or that you might want included in the sale. This can include the wood stove, refrigerator, lawn ornaments, etc. Make a note of what it looks like – especially it has been disclosed that something will be substituted, i.e.- they are replacing the heirloom chandelier.
Leave the house how you found it. If the blinds were closed – close them. Whether to prevent heat build up and sun fading the carpet/furniture, or simply for privacy, it’s what the owner wants. Turn off the lights that you turned on. Re-lock the doors and windows that you unlocked as you checked the home out. Don’t lock the doors that were unlocked – you might unwittingly lock an owner out of the house. Pets must be left where they were found – inside or out. They’ll make a break for the “greener pasture”, but they know they shouldn’t be there and you should know that as well.
Our Advice: Take a lot of pictures of the homes that meet your general criteria. It is easier to remember details later if you have pictures of the properties you liked. The pictures can help you if there is a problem between what was seen during your inspection and what is there at the close of escrow. Rare, but things can happen. If you forgot your camera most agents have a digital camera ready.
Be bold when looking at houses – it is going to be your home. Ask questions … get answers. Its work, but it’s worth it. Your agent will help you along the way. When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs… Experience is Priceless! Lisa Wetzel & Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781-5472. firstname.lastname@example.org, www.carsonvalleyland.com