Follow these 7 steps to home buying success!
Hopefully, you’ve taken the advice from the first four installments of this series and now you’re ready to start looking at actual homes. Although you can start running around to open houses – they do still exist during COVID – I recommend you start your search online. Virtual shopping will allow you to be a bit more logical and less emotional and can help you fine-tune your wants and needs list. It’s easy with these tips:
- Find a site you like and sign up for automatic updates. Getting daily emails will let you know when new homes come on the market that match your search criteria and can help educate you about home prices and features in your target areas.
- Give a little leeway. Add at least $5,000 to either side of your price range to be sure you’re not missing out on a great place.
- Beware of fancy lenses. Photographers often have to use wide-angle lenses to get the whole room in the picture. This can distort the image, making rooms look larger – or smaller – than they are in real life. Compare room dimensions rather than relying on just photos.
- Use virtual staging to place your furniture. One remedy for photo distortion is virtual staging. If the listing has a feature that allows you to add standard furniture, it can help you get a better feel for the true room dimensions. It can also make it easier to see whether your furniture will block windows or doorways or feel too large or small for the space.
- Don’t be afraid of hard work. Try to look beyond unfortunate color choices and dated cabinetry. A coat of paint can dramatically change a room and may allow you to save money on the purchase price.
- Examine floor plans. Remember to look for things like closet space, bathroom sizes and other areas that may not show up in the photos.
- Use virtual tours. The best virtual tours allow you to see each room from several different views. If the home has this feature, take the time to check it out. Try to get an idea of how energy will flow in the space. If the house feels chopped up and awkward on the screen, it probably won’t be any better in real life.
Finally, the goal of online shopping – whether for shoes or homes – is to save time and the same rules apply. If it seems too good to be true, dig a little deeper. There may be things that didn’t make it into the photos. Ask your agent to do some digging in advance to find out what’s up. As always, feel free to shoot me any questions that come up.
Next week: HBU E06 Finding an Agent
Did you miss Part 1?
Other advice from HomeLogic.