"So...what are we looking for?"

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I recently met new clients at our first open house together. They also happen to be first-time buyers, so lots of firsts. As we walked into the home they asked, "So... what are we looking for?

Below are some questions to keep in mind during showings and open houses when deciding if a home is the right fit for you.

  • How is the layout? Does it work for your specific needs? For example, do you like to entertain or need separate space for a home office?
  • How is the condition of the kitchens and bathroom/s? Do they need to be renovated in order to satisfy your needs?
  • Is the natural light in the home what you are hoping for? If you are attending an evening open house, will there be a chance to come back for a daytime showing? 
  • How about the number of windows, their size, and condition? 
  • Is the ceiling high enough for your taste and comfort?
  • If you are starting a family, does the home offer room to grow? Perhaps a basement or attic that could be refinished at some later point?
  • As for closet space. Is there enough or too little? If there is not enough closet space, are there walls where storage furniture pieces might fit nicely?
  • If the basement is unfinished, it clean and tidy are do you see lots of dangling wires? Are there odd smells of mold, oil, or gas?
  • How is the condition of the exterior? Will it need to be repaired or painted in the near future?
  • If there is outdoor space, is it enough to plant that garden you've been dreaming of? Is it private enough for you? In the case of a condo, is it pet friendly? 

If anything you see raises a red flag, jot it down. My clients usually come to me with a list of concerns and questions after an open house at a home they really like. If we can't go back to see the home together, I will set up an appointment to see it separately so that we can compare notes.

With regard to renovations and repairs, consider your budget. Will the work needed wipe out the savings account you spent years building? Maybe the home would be more your style after a handful of less expensive cosmetic changes. 

Trust your instincts, let yourself be surprised by what you like, and invite as much fun into the search process as possible!