Looking at houses to buy can be a ton of fun, but it can also get tiring and overwhelming if you don’t come prepared! But unless you do it for a living, you might not know what to bring with you when you’re house hunting.
To make sure you spend more time enjoying your home search, and less time stressing, here are 10 things you should gather up when you head out to see houses:
1) A watch
OK fine, your phone will do. Just make sure you have a way to keep an eye on the time, and be on time! Not just because it’s courteous to your real estate agent (who likely has a busy schedule), but also for the homeowners who are probably leaving their house so you can view it without them breathing down your neck the whole time. Not to mention other buyers who may have an appointment to see the house after you.
2) Your “needs and wants” list
Before you even start actually looking at houses, you should create a list of things you absolutely need in a house, and a list of the things you want (but could live without). It will help you truly assess whether each house meets your needs or not. Pro tip: make it into a checklist and print one out for each house so you can check the items off as you view it.
3) Notepad and pen
A checklist won’t cut it for everything. Sometimes you need to jot down a few notes that you’ll want to remember about each house. They start to blend together after a while, and you can easily forget something you loved (or hated) about a house. Better to grab yourself a notepad and pen than it is to scribble notes on your hand!
4) A measuring tape
Got yourself a king size bed, or an heirloom piece of furniture you can’t live without? Then you better make sure it’ll fit in the house you choose. Better to know right away than to wait until you’re under contract, so bring a tape measure and the dimensions of the furniture you care about, and make sure it fits in the space when you first see the house.
While it’s fine to look in the cabinets of the houses you look at, it’s a no-no to snag a snack out of them. You’d be surprised how hungry you get when you’re out looking at houses, but especially when you’re making an entire day of it. So pack a snack or two before you hit the road.
More of a coffee fiend than a snack hound? Then make sure you stop at Starbucks on your way to the first house. (Can’t hurt to grab one for your agent while you’re at it! Just sayin’…)
7) Shoes that are easy to slip off and on
It might not sound like a big deal, but taking your shoes off and putting them back on every time you enter and leave a house can get annoying. Many homeowners will want you to take your shoes off when walking through their home, so make life easier on yourself and wear shoes that are easy to slip off and on.
Alternatively, you could wear whatever shoes you desire, and just hope that the owner provides booties for you to slip over them. That said, those things can get kind of gross with so many other buyers using them before you. So, if that grosses you out, you may want to buy some booties of your own and B.Y.O.B.
9) People with opinions
If you have someone in your life who has a say in any way about the house you buy, bring ‘em along as early and often in the process as possible. If you bring your parents, or a trusted friend to chime in to just the house you decide to buy, they won’t have all of the context they need to give a valuable opinion. They need to see the houses you didn’t like, as much as they need to see the house you love. (It’s especially important to include them in the process if they are chipping in money for your down payment or closing costs!)
10) A checkbook
You never know which house will be “the one,” and when you know, you know. And if you know it’s a great house, there’s a chance another buyer will too, so make sure you’re ready to pounce and make an offer. Bring your checkbook along so you can write out an earnest money deposit to show the sellers you’re serious — before someone else swoops in and swipes your home-to-be!
Now you’re ready to house hunt like a pro; get out there and find your dream home!