Experienced real estate brokers know enough to stage homes so that potential buyers have every opportunity to imagine themselves living in them. They do this because they know that if a buyer forms an emotional attachment in their mind, closing the sale will be easier.
As a buyer, there is nothing wrong with picturing yourself living in a home you’re viewing. It is okay to let your imagination run wild. But be careful of your emotions. Even a house that you fall in love with could be a bad investment. You really have to be careful to look at homes objectively so that you don’t get burned.
How do you do that? Salt Lake City’s CityHome Collective has some suggestions. CityHome Collective is a local real estate brokerage and design firm. They deal in everything from luxury homes to condos and single-family starter homes.
Write Down Your Financials
A big part of viewing homes objectively is to do so with an eye on your financials. But it is not enough to just know what you can afford; you have to be reminded every time you view a home. An effective way to do that is to write your financials down on paper. Then carry the paper with you every time you view a home. Compare your numbers against MLS data on sales price, taxes, insurance, etc.
Having those numbers on hand will help you avoid the temptation of exceeding your budget. And make no mistake about it, the seller’s agent will try to convince you that it’s worth spending just a little bit more. They might be right. But if spending more means exceeding your budget, doing so is a mistake.
Look at the Mechanics First
Home buyers who tend to be swayed by aesthetics can help their own cause by committing to looking at the mechanics first. If this sounds like you, prepare yourself to take control of the showing from the very start. Your real estate broker is going to want to show you the entryway, kitchen, and living space first. Then it’s off to the bedrooms and baths. You are better off going right down to the basement to look at the furnace and water heater.
The idea here is to get a good feel for the mechanics before you allow aesthetics to influence you. In the end, the mechanics are more important anyway.
It is a good idea to compare prices on similar properties just prior to any showing. You want to look at properties currently on the market as well as those that have recently sold. Armed with this information, you will have a better idea of what the home you are viewing is actually worth to you. You’ll know what to expect from competing buyers as well as what you can reasonably offer.
Pay Attention to the Details
As you are walking through a home, pay attention to the details. It is often the little things that tell you if the current owner truly takes care of the property or has just cleaned it up in advance of showing it. For example, a fresh-looking patch of drywall compound on the kitchen ceiling could indicate a plumbing leak in the bathroom upstairs. You might assume any such leak has been repaired, but you still want to check on it.
The goal of looking at a house objectively is to determine if it’s something you really want, despite what your subjective heart is telling you. Viewing homes objectively takes practice. Once you master it though, you will be a lot more comfortable shopping for homes.