House Hunting Part 5 – The Hunt
Your heart flutters; maybe you breathe a little faster, an excited energy takes over, you are ready. You did your search, compiled a list of potential abodes, and found a good hunting guide to help with your hunt. A pre-qualification or better yet pre-approval letter in hand, you are prepared to start the expedition in earnest. Your Realtor will contact either CSS (Centralized Showing Systems) or call the Seller’s representative to schedule showings. Some brokerages have their own scheduling process however most use CSS. There are three types showing confirmations, “Go” sometimes called “Go and Show” is typically a designation for vacant properties. It means the listing is approved and ready to show. “Courtesy Call” is also an approved viewing; however, CSS contacts the Seller to alert them. “Appointment Required” CSS calls the Seller to schedule a showing. Occupied dwellings typically require a one hour advanced notification prior to the actual visit. The house hunter must be aware of these factors when scheduling homes.
Your house-hunting guide gave you the address for the first walk through. You meet your Realtor at the first house. On the door handle, you observe a device. Those are key locks; they house the keys to the front door so the Realtor can gain entry. They are either a combination lock or a SUPRA lock box. The combination locks are older types of key storage and usually found on lower end or vacant abodes. The SUPRA Lock box is blue and requires a battery operated key card to open. The Realtor punches in a code and the box opens with the key. With this device, CSS tracks who is in the home and automatically shuts down access after 9 PM.
The home is now open for your review. Provided the Seller’s Realtor has coached the Seller well, he/she will not be in the house during the showing. Nothing is worse than having the owner over your shoulder while you look. Not only is the situation awkward but it also lessons the chance of you buying the place. When investigating the house pay specific attention to the walls, areas around door and window openings, and try the doors. If you notice cracks above window and door openings and/or if a door sticks while trying to open or close then the abode could have foundation problems. North Texas soils contain large deposits of clay. Clay expands when wet and contracts when dry. The soils dry in the summer heat and swell during autumn rains. The uneven lift can cause damage to concrete slabs. This is one reason why so many foundation repair ads are in the DFW area. Cracks in the ceiling are typically not a big issue. Gypsum board and joint compound are brittle products and with large span ceilings, even walking in the attic or the wind can cause cracks. Also, pay attention to the kitchens and restrooms. Make sure they function and the appliances and fixtures are in serviceable condition.
Try to picture yourself, your family, and friends in the abode. Make a mental plan how your furniture will fit in the spaces. Properly staged homes will make your job easier. Personal photos on the walls, the old worn comfortable chair, or other knickknacks can make the hunter feel like a visitor and not a potential owner. Investigate storage space; a house can never have too much storage. Do not worry about paint color or carpet because those are easy, cheap fixes, and sometimes corrected during the negotiation phase. Check the backyard, is it fenced, is it big enough, does it include a pool?
House hunting is fun; however, certain things should be avoided. Do not use the bathroom; remember the home is not yours. Do not bring food or drinks inside. Also, do not discus negotiations or finances inside the house. If you need to talk about those items, wait until you are outside. Sometimes Sellers will plant recording devices in the rooms in hopes to catch those types of conversations to strengthen their bargaining hand. A good Realtor will give you a MLS (Multiple Listings Services) info sheet about the abode. Take notes and try not to schedule too many showings in one outing. Houses can blend and a feature you thought you remembered in one home could actually belong to another. Relax and enjoy the search and remember that each abode you cross off the list brings you closer to the one you will pull the trigger on. See ya down the road. http://www.djlyons-realtor.com