By Dorota Wright-O'Neill, RE/MAX Editor
I recently lived the adventure that is house hunting (under a tight deadline and in a competitive market with low inventory, but that's another story). Here are some lessons I learned during my home search that I'd like to share with fellow homebuyers:
- Dress appropriately. The serious house hunter should have slip-on shoes that can be taken off easily and frequently. And layering clothes is a big help, especially when there's no telling whether homes you're touring will be heated or cooled.
- Bring tools. Don't guess whether your king-sized bed or piano will fit, whip out the tape measure, or your tablet or smartphone and use apps like Photo Measures or MagicPlan. They let you take snapshots of interiors and include measurements and room specs. Many smartphones also have a flashlight feature – very helpful in dark basements.
- A lot of art is a lot of holes in the wall. Yes, they may look impressive, but the owners' expensively framed oil paintings will leave behind a lot of big holes you will be patching when they move out. Which also means you'll likely have to repaint, too. It's not necessarily a deal-breaker, but it's good to think about in advance.
- Remember your pet peeves. It's easy to fall in love with a house if you're desperate to find one, but remember to stick to your guns and your key must-haves. My pet peeve is a lack of natural light. Hollow, faux-wood doors annoy my husband. If we had bought a house that had them, I know he would have insisted on costly door replacements.
- Start packing. If you're serious about moving, get serious about packing. Start collecting boxes now, because you never have enough boxes. Make a point of packing every day, consistently, little by little, room by room. Don't save anything for the last minute because at the last minute there's always more to do than you have time for. Trust me on this.
- House hunters deserve treats. A sure way to stay cheerful during house hunting is to reward yourself afterward with a fortifying happy hour. Or a visit to a bakery, ice cream shop or spa. You can always justify your treat by chalking it up to the process of getting to know the area. And it will make the prospect of next weekend's house-hunting excursion that much nicer.
Are you about to start looking for your next home? Let a RE/MAX agent guide you.
Take it from one who's just been through this: You can never, ever underestimate the expertise, community connections, patience and steady calm your real estate agent will bring to the table – especially in a market where every advantage counts.