It only takes one full afternoon (much less a full day!) of touring properties to discover how difficult it can be to remember the details of all the houses you’ve seen.
Here are a few tips to help you manage the process of keeping track of the homes you’ve seen and evaluating which ones will make it to your “favorites” list.
- Make a check list of your “Must Haves” and “Nice to Haves.” When judging which list a feature should go on, ask yourself: If the house were perfect in every other way, but did not have this one feature, would I rule it out? For instance, if you have mobility issues, you may require a first floor master bedroom. You simply aren’t going to consider anything with an upstairs master. But, if the downstairs master is just a preference that you would give up if everything else about the house were perfect, that feature belongs on the “Nice to Have” list.
- Consider your “exceptions” to the list. Using the first floor master bedroom example, perhaps you would consider a home with a second floor bedroom, IF it had an elevator. Or maybe you would forego a larger lot if there were landscaping features that provided a sense of privacy for a smaller lot.
- Take notes.Unless you have a photographic memory, you can’t possibly remember everything about every home or even most things about most homes. Detailed notes about the things you especially like and the items that you really don’t care for will be hugely helpful at the end of the day when your memory is having difficulty recalling which house had the lovely water feature in the back yard and which had the peacock wall paper in the master bath.
- Limit your “favorites” list to no more than three homes. After you’ve viewed the third home, but before you go into the fourth, prioritize the homes. Which is your favorite? Which is second and third favorite? Number them. After you leave the fourth house, weigh it against the first three. Do you like it better than any of those? If so, add the fourth house to your favorites and discard the one that had been in the third position. Continue to do this after viewing each additional home, so you never have more than three homes under consideration.
- Don’t waste time with definite “no’s.”Most buyers can tell within the first three or four minutes if a house is NOT for them. The minute you know a house is not going to knock any of your top three off your favorites list, stop looking at it and move on. Don’t squander your energy looking at every detail of a house that isn’t in the running. Save it so you can invest it in closely evaluating those that are real contenders.
Remember to make a point of reviewing your “Must Haves,” “Nice to Haves,” and “Exceptions” list with your agent before you start visiting properties. There is no need to waste your or her time going to see homes that are missing “Must Have” features.
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