Your Checklist Before Looking at a Home

As I mentioned in my previous post, my wife and I are shopping for a home (as well as listing ours). Here is the list we run through before actually scheduling a showing to see a home:

1. Look at it on the Internet

2. Drive by the house (and look at the neighborhood)

3. Have a discussion on if there is any remote possibility we might buy the home

4. Make sure we can afford it

If any of the above 4 are negative answers, then we do not schedule a showing. Our house as been on the market for a week or so and we have had 6 showings thus far. While we are thankful for the many showings (our realtor said this was abnormal), we are tired of the comments on things they did not like that they should have known ahead of time. Since we are still living in our house, it’s quite a production to have showings. We have to clean up and pile our young son and dogs into the car and vacate the house for a few hours. This is also fun when you add in that most people want to see it around the time my son takes a nap.

We live in a house built in 1939 (it has been remodeled since). Houses built in 1939 do not have open floor plans (our house isn’t that closed off either). A few complaints have been that they wanted an open floor plan with space for entertaining (it’s funny how everyone needs a lot of ‘entertaining’ space these days). If you want a wide open house, then don’t look at houses built in 1939. Another complain was on the exterior. We have stucco exterior with fresh paint on it. The fact that you do not like stucco does not need my house needs ‘improvements’ on the exterior. It simply means you do not like stucco (again this was something that they should have known before coming to our house). The third complaint has been on price. We are priced at $95/sq foot. The average selling price in our neighborhood is $91/sq foot. We started at $95/sq foot to have room to negotiate. We are asking $199k for our home and a potential buyer had a budget of 150k. HGTV has made everyone think they are a home expert and they can talk someone down by 25%-50% off the asking price. This is simply not real life. Our neighborhood is full of homes with 1 1/2 baths, no garage, and unfinished basements. We have 2 full baths, a 2 car garage, and a finished basement, so we do not feel like we are out of line at all with our asking price (end rant).

My advice to you before you go look at a home is to work through the above check list (especially if someone is still living in the home). Don’t waste your time or your realtors (even if they are suggesting the listing).