Growing up, all my favorite classes had a field trip. When you buy a home, touring houses is like the field trip and can be a lot of fun and educational! Unlike the classic field trip to the museum we all remember, you won’t need to bring a sack lunch or wear a name tag when you tour homes (unless you really want to). But there are a few things you need to know.
First a bit of history. In prehistoric real estate times (like fifteen years ago), our MLS listings were in a giant book that each office had a copy of. When preparing to show a client homes, a Realtor would go through the book and pick a few they thought the buyer would like and schedule showings. Technology has completely changed that process. Today home shoppers are watching the MLS listing data online in real time. They are able to sort the homes presented and select their favorites that they want to see. This makes so much more sense to me!
Once the homes have been sorted and the favorites have been identified, send the list to your Realtor. Each listing has an MLS number that identifies it in the system, you can provide your agent with that number or the address. They will then determine the best route and make all the necessary arrangements. Keep in mind that many of the homes will be occupied. So, it’s important to provide your agent with your list as far in advance as possible. Many sellers will not accept showing requests with too short notice. Short notice would be anything less than two hours. If the property is occupied by a tenant, we are often required to provide 24 hours notice.
Depending on your schedule and unique situation, you will either meet your agent at their office and ride together or meet at the first home on the tour and caravan through the route. If you are riding with your agent and have small children, don’t forget car seats if needed.
As we arrive at each home, take note of the neighboring homes. Do the yards appear well maintained? Are there kids outside playing? Can you hear dogs barking or wandering the streets?
Prior to entering the home, allow your REALTOR to open the door, turn on a few lights, disarm security and corral any pets (alert your agent if anyone in your party has pet allergies so they can let you know which homes are also home to cats and dogs). Because this can take a minute or two, use the time to take a look at the front exterior. Note the condition of landscaping, paint and trim.
Then it’s time to come on in! Feel free to look around, open cabinets, closets and kitchen drawers. Look in the garage, attic (if accessible), and back yard. There is no need to look in the frig (yep, I’ve had people do that) because in Oklahoma it’s considered personal property and in most cases will not remain with the property. Try to keep in mind that the seller’s furnishings don’t stay with the house either. So, if they aren’t quite your taste, that’s okay. Try to focus on the layout of the floor plan and the size of the rooms. Will they be livable for you and your family?
As you tour each home consider the following; Be brutal, after all one of these is going to be your future home
- What features does the home have that you like the most? The least?
- Does the home have a special feature you want to remember?
- Does the house need a lot of repairs or updating?
Keep track of your favorites and quickly eliminate the houses you don’t like. Second showings can be scheduled on all your favorites to help you drill down to “The One!” Ready to hit the road?