With the internet and how sophisticated listings are today, buyers are more and more likely to purchase a home without viewing it or going through traditional channels. Now, certain situations may warrant someone buying without viewing – but we highly discourage it. There are just certain things you can only get a true feel for by visiting. What kind of things you might ask?
Learn the location and neighborhood. Photos don’t always tell you enough about a neighborhood or area. They can’t give you a feel for what’s butted up against the home. They won’t show you how the homes surrounding your potential home look. They don’t tell you about the best wing restaurant being just up the street! The places around your home are quite important – learn your proximity.
Talk to the neighbors (if there are any). When we were looking at our house, one of the neighbors introduced themselves and told us about the previous owner’s work to the home and how they enjoyed the area. This was a big encouragement to us. Another place we visited, the neighbor stared at us the whole time with a scowl watching where we parked. My point is, neighbors matter. Whether they tell you a place is great, not so great or just show you with their attitude, it can make an impact.
Seasonal changes. You can’t tell what homes look like in and out of season. You still won’t visit the home each season probably, but you can get a feel for some different aspects. Perhaps when you visit the home and it’s raining, and you notice some flooding or pooling or water that needs to be addressed. Maybe you see it at sunset and notice where the light falls in the house. You could even see a meadow behind the home you didn’t see in the summer photos because the leaves hid it – the list goes on. See your potential home in a variety of situations, times, and weather if possible.
Look out for problem areas. Visiting a home will allow you to see potential problem areas. Big problems could include soft spots/ water stains or alike damage in the home. Bad electrical or plumbing may be evident by trying light switches, outlets, and looking for leaks or slow draining of water if it’s turned on. These items are quite expensive and can be an unwanted hit to your wallet. Figure out what you’re willing to fix and what’s too much.
Let your imagination take hold. Visiting the home allows you to dream. It helps you see where your kids can play, or your grandparent can sit, or where you’ll spend most of your time entertaining. Walking through a home helps you visualize your family living there and even how you can decorate it! It helps the dream materialize a little more.
An informed buyer is a happy buyer. With any home, even a brand new one – there will be some surprises and things to deal with- it’s just part of the responsibility of being a homeowner. However, if you can alleviate yourself from some of these things, why not do it?