Tour more than a couple of houses during your house hunt, and they’re going to start to run together. Which house had the updated kitchen? Which had the huge master bedroom? Was it the same house?
Spend a little time preparing before you start visiting homes, and you’ll end up with documents that not only help you tell the homes apart – but also help you decide whether one of those houses is perfect for you. Try these 6 ways of keeping track of all the houses you’ll be visiting.
Know what you want
First, you need to know what you’re looking for in a new home. This includes features of the home as well as its location. Write down your wish list, separating the items into “needs” and “likes.”
Create a checklist
Once you know what you need and want in a new home and have prioritized your list, create a checklist. Some house hunters may find compiling this information into a spreadsheet most useful so they can directly compare homes. Others will prefer a printed paper that they can take with them to the house.
When you visit a house, you should get a printed listing sheet from your agent. Use it! The listing sheet is a great place to take notes as you tour the home. If you’ve printed out a checklist, attach it to the listing sheet so you can see how each home stacks up against your list.
Go through the house more than once
The first time you walk into the house, take it all in. Note your emotional reaction when you walk in the door and how you feel as you take your first pass around the house. When you’ve been through once, get out your checklist and notepaper, and go through again. This time, make note of features and items from your checklist. You may also want to visit the home on another day at a different time; you’ll get a different sense of the neighborhood and the house.
Take pictures – but ask first
Pictures and video can help you separate one house from the next. But, before you start snapping, make sure it’s OK with the listing agent.
Print out a map
If you’re looking at homes in the same neighborhood or town, print out or buy a map of the town. Highlight the homes you’re looking at as well as other points of interest like schools, shopping, work, parks, churches, etc. You’ll have an easy visual of where each house is in relation to the places you will go most often.