House Hunting: Will This Home Work for You?

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Looking for a new house is both exciting and intimidating. You’re in a financial and personal place to get that first home or to upgrade, but making such an important decision can be stressful. A common problem buyers have when touring homes is they just can’t visualize their stuff in someone else’s house. It stalls the process because you can’t commit to a property if it’s not clear that it will work for you. So, what do you do?

Bring a friend.

Or a family member—anyone who can give a second opinion. This person will give you perspective when you have trouble seeing the big picture. Your accomplice will also bring his or her personal experience with real estate, organizing, and moving, which can be very helpful.

Take measurements.

Measure your big furniture beforehand as well as the size of certain rooms in your current place, then compare to the homes you tour. If you need your giant television and piano, you’ll have to make sure there’s a good space for them in the next house.

Think about purpose.

As you walk through the potential new home, ask yourself what you would do with each room. If a home has an awkward layout, or has several spaces you just wouldn’t use, it’s probably not the right place for you.

Use your imagination.

It’s easy to be put-off by the existing setup of a home you’re touring, but you’ll have to look past that to see its potential. Don’t get stuck on the way the owners have decorated or staged; you don’t have to keep it that way. Try to imagine a new color on the walls, different curtains, and your own taste in furniture.

Curb your enthusiasm.

If you have an initial emotional reaction to a house (“I love it. And I must have it.”), don’t get swept away just yet. Do your best to internalize the facts the realtor has given you and make an objective decision. This is where the person you brought along will come in handy. Ask yourself the tough questions: will the street noise bother me? Do I want to hold out for the two-car garage? Is the lack of a bathroom on the main level going to get really annoying? And remember, you don’t have to make a decision on the spot. Sometimes you will come back to a house two or three times before deciding it’s the one.

Buying a house is a big deal, but it needn’t be nerve-wracking. As long as you do some planning and research in advance, and commit to being impartial, you will be in a great place to find your new home.

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