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Know when and why you shouldn’t tour a home

Time is everything. It’s abundant yet scarce, linear yet incurved, and we should spend it wisely-especially when touring homes. But before scheduling a tour with your real estate agent, there are a few things to look out for that will save you time and money while keeping you from being overtly disappointed that you ever went through the process of going on a tour. It’s essential that you’re conscious of these “showstoppers” and understand how to spot them.

Review the listing online

Whether you are on Zillow, Redfin or see a home on Nuhom, you should take the time to review the listing in its entirety. This includes looking at the photos and reading through the description and notes about the home. What you are looking for are things that will make you not want to buy the home. For example, the single family home you are looking at requires renovation when you are looking for a move-in ready home. Is the price within your budget? Have you accounted for your property tax, mortgage, rough utility estimates, and any other ownership items? If it all checks out by looking at the photos and reading the description, then you should move ahead and look at the location of the home on Google Maps. 

View the home on Google Maps

Now that you’ve reviewed the listing and have the necessary preliminary information, it is time to see where the home is on a map. This allows you to get a lay of the land for the location and surrounding areas of the property. Using services like Google Maps or Google Street View allows you to see if the home is a fit for where you want to be. Are there commercial properties, main thoroughfares, abutting properties you want to avoid, or is the property way up on a hill? Understanding your properties’ location is a vital component in the home buying process so once you’ve assessed and approved the location, you can move on to the next step and get the full listing.

Request the full listing and seller documents

Now, not all the information is accessible to you on a public listing like Zillow. Your licensed real estate agent will have more information about the home. Request a full listing for any home for sale in Massachusetts. At Nuhom, we always send you the full listing on the home which may include seller disclosures and other home related documents that may be important for the home buyer to review. Some of these may be showstoppers for you. For instance, if the seller is selling based on being able to find suitable housing and you need to buy a home asap, this home may not be the one for you. If you're looking for a newer home, check the age of the home or see if the listing documents refers to any newly renovated items in the home. Try to make some judgments based on the pictures where you can. We understand pictures don't always do justice, but many times they can act as great indicators especially if the property offers 3-D tours. If the full listing and seller documents don’t have any showstoppers, it is good to do a drive by of the home.

Drive by the home

After you’ve reviewed the full listing, it’s time to do a drive by of the home you’re looking to purchase if it is convenient to do so. Double check the listing before you go to ensure you have the correct information on the home. Does the home meet your minimum needs? If you’re looking at a condo, are you okay with the floor level? Are other condo owners above you or below you? Is there enough space outside? Driving by the home will give you a gut check of where your neighbors could be and give you a better understanding of what you’ll be purchasing. If you’ve driven by the property and decided that it meets your criteria, you’re now ready to attend an open house or schedule a private home tour.

Go to an open house or schedule a private home tour

We encourage all home buyers to go to open houses if one is available for homes they like. You don't need an agent to be with you, and you can walk through the home and get a feel for the home. This will give you a full understanding of whether or not the home meets your needs and wants. Are there enough bedrooms? Garage space? What about the kitchen? After viewing several homes you will become more confident noticing any showstoppers, and where you are willing to compromise with your wants and needs. In any case, going to an open house or scheduling a tour of the home is the last step in the decision-making process. If there are no open houses, schedule a tour with your agent or request one here.

The bottom line is you should take the time to get to know a home. When done efficiently, you’ll save time and be able to focus on homes that really meet your standards. If there are clear showstoppers right off the bat, avoid touring the home, and move on to the next. You will save a lot of time and disappointment. When you’re ready to tour a home, schedule one with Nuhom. Just tell us where and when you want to tour a home, and on demand we will coordinate with the seller to get you a private tour. We will guide you through the tour while addressing areas of concern, leaving you to focus on what matters most: finding your new home!

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