When you are looking for houses it helps to have a house hunting checklist. Something you can use to evaluate each house and make sure you are seeing it with your reality lenses instead of the rose-colored ones we usually see the “must-have” houses with.
What is a house hunting checklist?
A house hunting checklist is checklist for buying a house that you can use when you are looking at houses for the first time before you buy them. It is a sheet that allows you to track the details of the home and allows you to make an initial assessment to help you decide if a house is worth looking at more in-depth.
Why use a house hunting checklist
When you start to look at houses it will likely happen all at once. When you have found a good real estate agent, and are done with looking for houses online, you will start heading out and looking at houses. Your realtor will likely take you to several houses on the first time out to give you a better idea of what is out there and give you an idea of how much house you can afford based on the homes in areas you are looking.
Having this home buying checklist for home buyers is a way for you to make your notes as you walkthrough different houses and keep things organized in your own head and on paper. If you want to look for homes the right way use this house hunting checklist template. It’s a simple one page house hunting worksheet that can help you narrow things down before you move on to the home inspection checklist we have that is usually done in the second viewing. These checklists contain some of the best house hunting tips you can start with.
How to Use the House Hunt Checklist
This checklist is a one page printable that you can take with you when you go through any house. While you are looking around just take some quick notes and maybe snap a photo or two if it’s allowed and then you can compare all the houses afterwards. Here are the different parts of the checklist and how to use it. Print off multiple copies if you plan on seeing many houses. This is a useful buying a house checklist for when you are viewing houses.
Part 1 of the Buying a Home Checklist: House Information
This is where you enter in the details from the listing including the address, asking price, square footage and a few other items. These are all good to know at a glance because when you are comparing houses you want to know the details quickly.
Part 2 of the House Hunting Checklist: Rooms
This part of the checklist is for you to make a quick assessment of any room and give it a one out of three. Either you love it, hate it or it’s “ok” meaning you don’t really care either way. Doing this is a huge benefit because you can see very quickly what you do and don’t like about a place without having to remember all the details.
For instance, in one house if you love the kitchen but hate the master bedroom you will have to weigh those two things against each other and see what has to happen. Are you will to take it or leave it?
Part 3 of the House Hunting Checklist: Appliances and Heating and Cooling
The funny thing about this part is that you don’t really pay it any mind when you are doing your first walk through of a house, but it can be a deal breaker later on. These mechanical and appliance items are of key importance.
Do you get the appliances? Is it a boiler or a furnace? Does the house have air conditioning? Being able to check these off later on can give you a clearer picture of the whole house when you finally sit down at the end of the night.
Part 4 of the House Hunting Checklist: Home Must Haves List and Nice to Have List
Every millennial homeowner has certain things they “must have” and other things that are “nice to have”, they essential are the two halves of anyone’s dream home checklist. But unless you are building a new home you are likely going to miss out on a few things.
Fill these out before you go house shopping and it can cut down on time. After all, why would you go to a house that doesn’t have an ensuite bathroom when it’s one of your must haves. It’s your first home and you want to make sure you know what you want and what you can accept as an added bonus.
Doing this list can save you time and help you realize what is important and what is not when it looking at homes. This will be a place you spend a part of your life in and you want to make sure that if you arguing to go down the home buying process this is the right home for you.
Part 5 of the House Buying Checklist: Overall impression
Finally when you leave the house you are looking at, take a few seconds in the car to write down your impression. Could you live in it? What did you like what didn’t you like? What did you notice that would need further inspection before you make an offer?
All of these items come into play and are important. Plus by doing this immediately after you leave you will capture your first impression and not let time gloss over the parts you did or didn’t like. One place we saw we loved the master bedroom so much we almost forgot about the terrible sewer smell the second time we saw it. Remember curb appeal can go a long way with first impressions, but you need to consider everything, from the neighborhood right down to the kitchen sink. Because if you buy this home, it’s all becomes your own.
Be impartial and write down anything that comes to mind. Buying your first house is a big purchase, (read big mortgage) and you want to make sure you get it right.
Other things to consider
A few questions to ask when house hunting are “When did it last sell?”, “Can we see pictures of the last time it listed (this can be in the MLS listing history your realtor has access to)?” Plus my favorite question, “How motivated are the sellers, and why are they selling?”
The average house hunting time can be a few months so don’t rush it. Keep the houses you look at in a house hunting binder so that you can look pack on them and compare.
What should I wear house hunting?
A funny question we get asked all the time is what to wear house hunting? If you are with your realtor you can wear something casual. But if you are meeting with the owners you want to dress presentable but not too nice. If you dress up too nice it can send the message that you can more than afford the house, and if you dress down you send the message that you can’t afford a home, and may not get dealt with seriously. It’s not a clear cut answer for sure, but it depends on the impression you are trying to make.
Another thing to consider is if you haven’t chosen a realtor yet, then you will likely have to wait for these places to have open houses. This means you will want to make a good impression so dress a little nicer.
When Should I Start House Hunting?
Your home buying timeline will depend upon several factors. A lot of different factors play into it. For example having a good credit score means you can qualify for a mortgage with a better interest rate, which means that you have more home buying options. Add in a soft housing market and you can really buy a nicer place than you thought. But you will still need to have a down payment to buy the house. So a higher price range means you need to have more saved up (don’t forget about closing costs either).
That’s all to say that if you want to start looking for houses now you can there’s no harm and it’s good practice to master the house hunting part of this. But it can be heart breaking to find your perfect home and not be able to move forward with it because the other pieces we just mentioned haven’t fallen into place yet.
Putting the House Hunting Checklist into Action
The benefit of using this house hunting checklist comes from being able to make your comments and come back to them so you can assess the house in one glance. Often we get caught up in our house searching activities and we focus on one aspect we love (say granite countertops) and forget about the other things we didn’t really like (say the third bedroom is actually a closet). By having a house hunting sheet like this you can better prepare yourself for buying your first home.
If you are ready for to being your house hunt you can get this house hunting checklist printable for free below by entering your email or by clicking here.