In the hunt for the perfect home, it’s easy to get swept away by charm and kerbside appeal and forget the important stuff. And, if you are visiting multiple show houses each Sunday, and a husband and wife are wanting different things in a home, it can get complicated.
It’s important to set your priorities and streamline the house-hunting process early on. Buying a home is the most important purchase you will ever make, so take a deep breath, discuss your wants, likes and dislikes with your partner and make a plan before diving in – it will prevent any arguments, make the process far smoother and prevent a break-up.
When you start looking, charming features are bound to try and sway you. Keep your priorities list on hand when visiting properties to help you stay on track.
This will help you stay organised and focused during your house-hunt.
1. When you visit and tour a home for the first time, the excitement can make it difficult to focus, so go with it, enjoy walking through and note the first impression it makes. Once the excitement settles, it’s time to get serious.
Return to the entrance and walk through again and consult your priorities list – what boxes does it tick, what does the home lack and what emotions do you have? Can you see yourself living in this home, in this neighbourhood?
2. This may seem like jumping the gun but if the majority of your existing furniture doesn’t fit the potential property you could be making a costly purchase even more expensive if you have to buy new furniture too. It is better to know now rather than later if your late grandmother’s treasured ‘jongman’s kas’ doesn’t fit.
3. It’s amazing how quickly memory fades so take photos and video your walk through on your cell phone. Be sure to ask your agent for permission before taking any photos or video. And even then, it is assumed that they are for personal use, so don’t post them on your Facebook page – at least not until you own the house.
4. We’re not suggesting that you have a good nose, but open closets and cupboards. Proper storage is an important factor. Note the number and size of cupboards and their uses or potential use, and if the current homeowner has them jam-packed, it might be a sign that the house doesn’t have enough storage for its size.
5. Look high and low – look out of your usual line of sight and lift up rugs and even furniture as they can be used to conceal damaged flooring. You have the right to see the house in all its glory and know its flaws. Let your agent know what you want to see, and they should accommodate you.
6. View your potential new home at different times of the day. If your first viewing was in the morning, come at sunset, and take note of the changes in light and the atmosphere in the neighbourhood. Are people sitting out in their gardens? Are kids playing outside? Is it noisy? You are bound to learn and discover different things about your potential new home.
7. Ask yourself and imagine how you would use the space. If the second bedroom is currently set up for guests it doesn’t mean you can’t use it as an office, a home gym or a nursery. Paint colours, furniture arrangements and window treatments can also all be altered, so use your imagination and really put yourself in the home.