Stay Organized While House Hunting

House hunting will set your mind reeling.  Trying to remember what you liked or disliked about a property can be difficult unless you organize your thoughts and make notes.

Refreshing your memory is easy when you sign up for an account with an online real estate app such as Realtor.com, Zillow or Trulia.  You can “save” properties and review the home details, photos and virtual tour videos at your convenience.  Search for the property using the address or MLS reference number that can be found on the information sheet given to you by your realtor.

Before looking at any properties you need to select a few parameters, but be open minded if your realtor suggests a property that does does conform.

  • Budget – not necessarily how much the bank will loan you, but how much you can realistically afford to spend each month and live comfortably.

  • Area – Based on what is important to you; schools, commute, urban/rural, safety etc.

  • Deal Breakers – Walk ups, needs major renovations, on a busy street, acreage etc

It’s okay to look slightly above your budgeted price because you can always make an offer. Typically, in the Lowcountry, homes sell at around 95% of the asking price.  Ask your realtor, what is typical in your area.

Before you start your search, make a wishlist of features that are essential and/or you desire the most, such as granite counters, stainless steel appliances, fireplace, fenced yard etc. Attach a list to each handout the realtor gives you for every property you visit.  After viewing each property check off items on the wish list and add comments about what you liked or disliked about the property.

Document: Our Wish List – Print and cut into individual lists. Attach one to each Property Info Sheet
If you reject a property, write the reason why on the back of the sheet but do not discard the flyer.  You may want to be reminded as you narrow down your search.

Review your written notes and refresh your memory by looking at the photos of each property online. Create a spreadsheet to compare property features at a glance.  Sleep on your decision. Revisit properties that score perfect or near perfect scores. In most cases house hunting comes down to compromise, so it is a good idea to have all the information available to you at a glance.

Sample: Spreadsheet

Happy Hunting!

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