Home Tour Checklist for First-Time Buyers

Are you thinking of buying your first home? The first step to becoming a homeowner is determining your budget and evaluating your expectations. You can then reach out to a real estate agent and put your terms forward so they can look for a property that fits you. Once you’ve gone through the listings provided by your agent (or you can look for them online yourself), the next step is to more thoroughly examine the house you’re interested in—this is called a home tour.

Touring homes is one of the most exciting prospects of the home-buying process, but it can also be very nerve-wracking. Even if you have your must-haves listed, you can easily be swept away in all the excitement and lose focus on the critical details when you tour a home in person.

This is precisely why we have broken it down so you can feel more confident in making the right choice.

What Is a Home Tour?

A home tour is when you get to explore a home that you saw on the listing more thoroughly. You can do this in two ways: in person or virtual. However, it’s better to tour a home in person so you can examine the property from every angle, which you probably wouldn’t have access to via a virtual tour.

Home tours are available as open-house tours or private tours. As the name implies, an open house is an invitation for anyone to inspect a house within a given timeframe. The listing agent will offer more information to interested parties. Private tours, on the other hand, are arranged with your own real estate or listing agent. If you like the look of a particular house, then it’s ideal to schedule a private tour to be able to take your time inspecting the property.

Ways to Prepare For a Home Tour

Research the location

The address of your home is likely to play a vital role in its value as an investment. So ensure that you consider the following factors:

  • Would you prefer a home along the main road or one that is nestled away? Are you looking for a condo in a downtown area or a quiet suburb? Do you want sprawling land space or a small property without considering lawn maintenance?
  • If you have children, consider the school districts. This is a significant factor in your home-hunting efforts; remember that schools affect property values, too!
  • Consider property taxes and look into the last decade of property taxes for the county where you want to tour homes. This will give you an idea about how your property taxes can change over time so you can align your preferences according to your budget.
  • Research the neighborhood and categories, such as available facilities, walkability, and crime rates.
  • Ask your agent if any major future infrastructure projects are planned in the specific area. If so, you can expect an increase in property values.

Think about the functionality of the home plan

It’s important to consider the home’s floor plan and ensure that it accommodates your lifestyle. Determine the number of bedrooms you’re looking for, and don’t forget to consider the size of the rooms, too. For example, will the room be large enough to accommodate your child as they grow up? Can it be converted into a home office?

Do you have a specific style of home you’re looking for?

From cottage-styled homes to modern ones, there are plenty of home styles. Do you want to go with a turnkey house that’s move-in ready? Or do you want an old house that you can renovate as you wish?

Are you looking for outdoor features?

Outdoor space is essential for most people, so if you’re looking for an ample outdoor space with a pool or space to install one, this should be a priority when looking at home listings.

Now that you have specified your criteria for a perfect home, it’s time to start home-hunting! Before we dive into it, remember something very important – you should follow common courtesy, but don’t be shy about trying everything. Pay attention to everything from testing the cupboards and flushing the toilets to listening for any creaks on the stairs.

Home Tour Checklist

Here’s a checklist of things to look for when touring a house:

  • General floor plan
  • Number of floors and bedrooms
  • Size of bedroom and bathrooms
  • Closet space
  • Architectural style
  • Condition of appliances
  • Number of sockets in every room and the practicality of light switches
  • The amount of natural light the house gets
  • The noise inside and outside the house
  • Water pressure and plumbing
  • Parking capacity/garage
  • Width of stairways
  • Decks and porches
  • Condition of the roof
  • How close the house is to neighboring homes
  • Opportunities to remodel
  • Cracks in the foundation
  • Water damage
  • Mismatched flooring, uneven flooring, wall condition
  • Overgrown trees that can cause damage to the property
  • Age of the electrical box
  • Pest infestation

Ticking off your checklist may appear overwhelming, so taking notes during the home tour would be a good idea. This will also help trigger some additional vital questions about the home.

Pro-tip: Use Your Five Senses

Sight: Look for any signs of mold in the walls, water damage, or anything to be concerned about that is covered by rugs or window dressings.

Hearing: Can you hear noise from the outside? Is the sound of traffic outside disturbing? Do the floors squeak? Can you hear the HVAC system?

Smell: Does the bathroom smell mildew, or are there unpleasant odors from the carpet? Is the room over-scented with fragrances to mask some foul odor underneath?

Touch: Does the wall feel damp? Are the floors slippery? Are the heated floors actually heated? What does the water pressure feel like?

Taste: Does the tap water taste pleasant?

Bottom Line

Home hunting is exciting but requires patience and attention to detail. You can fall in love with a home at first sight, but it’s worth looking into the small details that often go unnoticed. Watch out for red flags, which may not necessarily appear like an issue right now but could pose a risk later on and even cost you heavily in repairs.

Finally, remember that not every house is perfect, so don’t get caught up in minor discrepancies like paint colors or hardware finishes. Talk to your agent about any doubts or questions you have because you’re putting your savings into what would be an investment for a lifetime, so your choice should be worth it in every sense.