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House Hunting Tips
Allow Plenty of Time - While it may be tempting to try and visit as many properties as possible on a single day, "overbooking" won't give you enough time to linger and fully tour each individual home. If you find a house you truly like, you will probably spend more time reviewing each room in greater detail. Assume that each house you view will hold your interest enough for a lengthy exploration.
Dress Comfortably - House hunting isn't a job interview, so dress casually and comfortably for the season. Wear slip-on shoes and adequate socks - homes with new carpet or flooring will often include "please remove shoes" signs. You will be doing a lot of walking and taking trips up and down stairs, so supportive footwear is a must. Clothing should fit comfortably enough to accommodate reaching up or bending/crouching down to examine cupboards both high and low.
Carpool - Taking just one car is particularly convenient when viewing multiple properties on the same day. A one vehicle approach ensures that no one gets separated or lost. Also, by moving over to the passenger seat you're free to consider the merits of each last house and pay attention to the neighborhood near each property, rather than focus your energy on squinting at street signs.
Pay Attention to the Surroundings - Speaking of the neighborhood; make sure you pay attention to the area close by each home on the way in. What kind of shopping opportunities and facilities are within a short distance? Are there appealing destinations within walking distance? What are the schools like nearby? How far will your commute be? Are many other homes for sale in the immediate area?
The idea is to have some feeling of whether or not the neighborhood is right for you before you ever set foot in the actual home. If you're lucky enough to fall in love with the house itself, knowing the lay of the land ahead of time can give you the confidence to make an immediate offer.
Use Your Nose - Generally speaking, a bad (or unidentifiable) smell inside or outside the home is not a good sign. Likewise, be somewhat suspicious if the home is overpowered by the smell of potpourri or intense candles in every room, as this can be an attempt by the seller to mask problematic odors. Mildew and mold smells indicate much larger problems - mold removal can cost thousands of dollars, and locating/fixing moisture leaks can be a difficult task. Pet smells or smoke smells can be minimized with cleaning, but will likely take time to fully dissipate. If you are interested in a home with a strong smell, hire a qualified and experienced home inspector who will unmask the cause of the odor.