Do you break into a cold sweat whenever your spouse says, “Shall we go visit some open houses today?” Can you easily think of about 1,000,000 ways you would rather spend your precious weekend days?
You’re not alone.
Buying a house is a big deal, and the sheer size of the investment can be a cause of stress. Worrying about getting it absolutely right can make it seem like an impossible task, even before you start looking.
Like with any big project, house hunting can be made less stressful by simple organization. Here are 5 tips to help you organize the process and make it (almost) enjoyable!
1. Make a List
My husband would crack up if he knew I was writing this, because I am forever making lists.
Lists are glorious things that ensure that you do not forget anything! In this case, making two lists can be helpful.
First, list the things that are absolutely essential in a house. E.g.: school nearby, three bedrooms, etc. Knowing what the essentials are will help you narrow down how many houses you visit.
Second, list the things that are not necessary but would be nice to have. For example, you may want three bathrooms but can deal with two. Or, you may prefer to have a finished basement but it won’t be a deal breaker.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Knowing how much you can afford to pay per month in mortgage payments will help you determine your price range. This information can be used in conjunction with your lists.
3. Browse Online
Whether you’re working with a buyer’s agent or not, you should do your own online research. REALTOR.ca is naturally the first stop when house hunting in Canada. But, if you want more details and accurate information, just go HERE
Create your buyer profile, set up your email alerts and make your list (yes, another list! Lists are great for reducing stress!) of the houses that interest you that you want to visit.
4. Take Notes at Open Houses and Viewings
When you get to an open house or a viewing, ask the seller if you can take some shots of the property. This can act as a useful aide-memoire as pretty soon the houses you visit will start to run together. If the seller isn’t comfortable, use a notebook or your smartphone to jot down your notes and observations about the house.
Write down what stands out that you really like, and what stands out that you dislike. And have your “essentials” and “nice-to-have” lists on hand to score the property!
5. Talk About It
If you’re house hunting as a team, take some time to debrief on every property you see. You and your partner can discuss what you liked and didn’t like and may even be able to make a decision about whether or not to make an offer.
By keeping organized (with lists! Sorry, is it getting old?), staying on budget and keeping the lines of communication open, you can greatly reduce your stress levels when house hunting. After all, you’re looking for your future home. The process should be a pleasure!