When you’re in the home shopping market, it’s important to not just take a virtual home tour of the property but a live tour as well. Seeing a home is a great way to start gathering your thoughts on how a new home should make you feel. Some houses you will visit and fall in love with right away, while others may take some convincing of your feet to press the brake to even stop the car. Either way, no picture or video can substitute for what we call our “gut” feeling. Although house touring is to see the property live and direct, it is also to assist you in having a clearer vision of what you may want your future home to look like.
Here are some helpful Do’s and Don’ts to get you through your home tours with ease.
Do greet the host/agent. What better way to arrive at an open house but happy, friendly and open minded? Say your hello’s, even introduce you if you’d like. Also, if you bring your own agent, you should introduce them too so the hosting agent doesn’t attempt to seduce you for your business.
Do take notes. Some buyers bring a pen and paper, others use a cell phone to take pictures, record video or voice notes. It’s important to have a good visual memory, especially if you plan on looking at multiple properties over a short period of time. This way you can stay organized and on top.
Do ask permission to take photos. Don’t just start snapping away. Not all sellers will be pleased to have you taking portfolios of their home. And if they do agree, make sure to take pictures without people and shadows in them.
Do wear walking shoes. This is not the employee work party, you can keep those high heels at home. Plus, would you want someone visiting your home with 4inch stilettos making little circles in your carpet or stressing your hard wood floors?
Do dress appropriately. We’ve already established that this isn’t the employee work party, but it’s not a trip to the beach with old friends either. Leave your daisy dukes and cut off the top for a picnic. Remember, you want to be taken seriously.
Do check for mold and rotting. Wood rots due to moisture and mold/mildew is a fungus that forms around moisture. Either way, separate or together, they are a problem point blank. Fortunately, a little mold can easily be killed with a bleach and water solution, but serious mold and rot can cost a substantial amount of money and we advise our buyers to keep looking.
Do check water pressure. Flushing toilets, running the shower and kitchen sink will let you know how the water pressure is. Don’t wait until you have a full house of guest and because grandpa flushes the toilet downstairs, dad gets 3rd-degree burns from the cold water that left his shower to go help grandpa flush.
Do make sure there is a water drain and it faces away from the home. There’s nothing worse than sitting in your living room while the roof caves in from all the water deposits. Make sure that there is proper drainage because you won’t mind the rain until it pours.
Do look under that carpet. So the current owner has 7 cats and 3 dogs and that carpet is screaming it out to you! Replacing the carpet is always an option, but maybe there’s some great hardwood hiding under there waiting to be varnished and walked on (barefoot). Find a corner, or around a heating vent and take a quick peep to see what really lies beneath.
Do check to see if the floors are leveled and even. Carpets and rugs can easily hide an uneven floor, but an uneven floor can suggest support issues, foundation settling or a moisture problem. There’s nothing wrong with bringing a tennis or handball, or maybe some marbles for discretion.
Do look inside every door. If a door is closed, open it. If a door is locked, ask to have it unlocked. No area in the home should be off limits during a tour.
Do pay attention for the amount of outside noise. If the windows are open, you can hear the kids playing, neighbors greeting and even cars passing by. But if the windows are closed and you can still hear them just as clear, you should call Houston, because we might have a problem. If Houston doesn’t respond, it’s ok. You can probably solve this issue with a little inexpensive DIY soundproofing.
Do speak with neighbors about the area. To remain unbiased, we suggest you do this on the way out. That way you can go inside the home with a neutral position and if you decide you don’t like the home, you didn’t waste time listening to the neighbor talk your ear off about how long they’ve lived there blah blah blah…
Don’t be rude. If you’re having a bad day or some guy cut you off on your way to the open house, take a moment to regroup in the car and come out with a new attitude, or at least leave your attitude in the car.
Don’t pay attention to the current setup and decor including furniture. The current owner and you may have totally different taste, styles, and visions for the home. Try your best to picture the home as an empty canvas.
Don’t criticize the property or the condition the owner has it in. You never know what someone else is dealing with or going through. Some people sell their homes and upgrade, other sells due to downgrades. Just know if this does become your home, you will care for it in a different manner.
Don’t give TMI (too much info). Since you may not be the only interested potential buyer at the open house, chit chat is fine, but full disclosure convo’s are a no no. No one needs to know that your husband is a cheating dog sleeping with his assistant and you’re planning on serving him divorce papers as soon as you buy this house. WOAH!! Remain focused on the property and keep your private thoughts private.
Don’t bring your pets. We get it, Sparky is part of the family, he’s been there through 2 marriages and 3 kids. He is the official 6 member of the family, YOUR FAMILY! Bringing pets to an open house is a bad idea for so many different reasons, no matter how well trained they are. Yes, it’s Sparky’s new home too, but being considerate of the host and other visitors who may not like or be allergic to Sparky may not sit well with him in the dog world, but us humans will appreciate you for it.
Don’t bring your unruly children. Let’s be honest here, just because you believe your kids and their misbehaved selves are the most adorable little munchkins ever, doesn’t mean anyone else does. Today is the day that little Billy bad boy and never listen Lisa should stay with the sitter, or at least in the car. (Check your local weather listings before you leave them in the car on a hot and hazy day).
Don’t dig thru closets or draws, simply look. It’s not your home yet! While you have every right to look inside the closets, there is no need to try on those sizes 8 Christian Louboutins peep toe heels, they’re probably going with the seller anyway.
Don’t ignore the number of windows and natural sunlight. If you need sunglasses while inside the house, that’s a great thing. The Sunshine can always be deflected with blinds and curtains. Lots of natural light will save you some money down the line on your electricity bill. Why turn on the lights, when the sun is doing it for you?
Don’t forget to check out closet and storage space, including the basement and attic if applicable. After you buy or bring all your wonderful furniture and accessories to build your new home’s character, you will need a place to store some of those items that you aren’t using but aren’t throwing away either.
Don’t forget to check out the yard and garage. When we think of house tours, we think the house, but don’t forget to mosey on down to the backyard to see what your working with. Is the backyard friends and family over for fourth of July barbecue back yard or an if the cemetery is out of space, you can bury your granny back here kind of yard?