House hunting can be exciting, but it can also be scary and stressful. Buying a home is a big deal, and we know that there are specific things each house hunter wants or doesn’t want in their future home. We created a house hunting checklist for you so that you can narrow down the things you desire most in your future home. This checklist is also helpful if you are shopping for a home with your significant other to help make sure are on the same page. Lastly, our list is a useful tool to show your realtor so that they can honor your time by showing you houses that meet specific desires.
When looking for a house, it is always important to think through your desires for the interior of the home, the exterior, and any additional features.
We included all of these categories in our checklist so you can feel confident that you aren’t missing anything.
There are many factors to think through with the interior of your future home. Some key things to determine include, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, finished or unfinished basement, how many car garages, and any desired extra space for an office or playroom. On your list, you can include your maximum and the minimum number of bedrooms that you would like in your future house. This list will help your real estate agent determine what home to show you. It is also helpful to communicate your deal breakers to your agent and significant other. For example, as mentioned earlier, is an unfinished basement a dealbreaker for you or would you be willing to finish it on your own? If you have a family, it is helpful to know if you’re finished growing or not. If you are, having extra bedrooms might not matter, but if you still are planning on increasing in number, then you might want to have extra space.
Surprisingly, there are a lot of exterior options when looking for your future home. Siding options alone range from stone to brick to vinyl to stucco, cement, to name a few. Once again, always consider if your preference is a deal breaker and make sure to communicate that to your real estate agent. Other exterior options to consider are front or back porches, sunrooms, and fences. Our checklist includes even more exterior options to think through so that you can feel fully prepared.
Additional features are an essential category because these things can be overlooked but are important. When you’re focused on the essentials that have to do with the interior and exterior of the home, it is easy to forget about things that don’t fall directly under those categories. A few additional features to consider include, sprinkler systems, stove type, where the lot is located and alarm systems. Is a sprinkler system a must have on your list? Do you have a preference on stove type such as gas or electric? Do you want a corner lot, or a home on a cul-de-sac? Is it essential for your home to already have an alarm system already or is that something you can afford to install later?
In addition to helping you figure out the non-negotiable things you desire in a home, this checklist will also give you the option to decide what things aren’t a big deal for you.
For example, you might not care if the house you’re looking at has a fireplace or not. By being clear on what you want and don’t want, you save yourself time and unnecessary conversations which will and hopefully, reduce some of the stress you might be feeling when looking for a home.
In addition to your checklist, we recommend having prepared questions that you ask at every house. It is even better if you can talk to a neighbor in the area to get a real feel for the neighborhood. That’s why it can be helpful to look for a house in the evening when families are home. Some examples of enlightening questions could be, how is the traffic in this neighborhood, what is the age range of families in this area, are there any noise complaints? Neighbors will sometimes know information about the house you’re looking at that might not be mentioned in the listing, like flooding in that area when it rains or the etiquette and personality of other neighbors.
You can always change your siding or finish your basement, but you don’t have as much control of who lives in your neighborhood, so the more you can find out about it, the better.
Lastly, when you’re looking at many houses over a small amount of time, it can be challenging to remember all of the things that you liked about each home. We recommend bringing your checklist and a notebook with each house you tour so that you can take notes about the things that stood out to you and make sure the house is meeting your basic requirements. By walking through a home with these tools, it will help with the decision process. It will make your decision both emotional and logical, because, while your future home needs to feel right, it is also helpful to stay rational and make a decision from both parts of your brain.
Happy house hunting, community!