You’ve scoped out photos of the stellar kitchen and spacious master bedroom a hundred times, envisioning the dream life happening in this online depiction of your dream home. Of course, you have yet to see the place in person, but it has the square footage you’re looking for, the price seems right, and you are jazzed. Hold your horses though, because there are a few more things to examine before getting too excited – namely, the open house! This is your chance to “kick the tires” and see if this home is everything you thought it to be. Before going out to these showings, be prepared to run it through a list of important criteria to determine if it is, indeed, worth your time and money.
Remember, when you’re buying a home, you’re buying a location. The first thing to keep in mind when going out to a showing is the neighborhood and the neighbors. This is, perhaps, the most important take-away from seeing a home in person. During your visit, pay attention to the condition of other homes in the area, traffic speeds, and access to amenities that your family needs. Furthermore, does the home have noisy or disruptive neighbors? Barking dogs could have a large impact on your quality of life, so be mindful of things like this. Privacy is also another factor to consider. When you’re taking your morning shower, are you going to want to walk out and stare directly into your neighbor’s kitchen? Taking a walk around the house, both inside and out, will give you the chance to notice these things as well as any other surprises you may or may not like.
One aspect of the house that it is impossible to gauge from the pictures is the flow of the rooms. Do the rooms work well with one another or are there awkward transitions between them? A good question to ask is if the lay-out feels natural and if it suits the style of living you hope to have. For example, if you are moving in with small kids, you are likely going to want their bedrooms to be close to the master. If you have teens, you might want the opposite. Smells and odors are something to consider as well. If something smells like death, you might want to investigate. Next, consider the natural lighting and air-flow in the house. Opening a window to catch a breeze can cut down utility bills throughout the summer months. Lastly, closet space can be an important characteristic of the home to consider. Is there enough storage space to keep you organized? This can make or break a home for some people, so be mindful of it as you go through your visit.