House-Hunting Checklist: 10 Essentials to Bring on Your Search
Camera, checklist, slip-on shoes — these and 7 more take-alongs will help you make the most of a house-hunting weekend
3. Slip-on shoes. Taking shoes off is sometimes requested, both at private showings and open houses, so it helps to be prepared. Wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off, and nice, comfy socks to keep your feet warm.
4. Checklist. Facing a day packed with open houses can leave the best of us feeling flustered. Come prepared and stay focused by bringing a checklist with the main points you want to remember to look for at each property. When you get home, this will also make it much easier to do a side-by-side comparison of the houses you saw.
5. Camera. Your smartphone is completely fine and may even be preferable to a big, clunky camera for this purpose. With permission, aim to snap a photo of the front of each house you visit, plus each main room. Then you can share the photos with someone who couldn’t be at the showing, or use them to refresh your own memory when all those properties start to blend together.
6. Helpful apps. Downloading an app or two before you leave on your house hunt can enhance your search. From traditional real estate apps that help you search homes for sale, to more specialized apps like Sun Surveyor, which can help you understand the solar orientation of a home (which could be important if you’re hoping to use solar power), pick one or two that will helpfully fill a niche in your search.
7. Measurements. Do you have a piano, large painting or big piece of furniture that you would be heartbroken were it not to fit in the new place? Measure it before you begin house-hunting and bring the measurements — and a measuring tape — with you when you view properties. There’s no need to break out the measuring tape at every open house, but when you’re seriously interested in a particular house, it can be worth getting to this level of detail.
9. Stakeholders. There’s certainly an argument to be made for not bringing kids along on those initial house-hunting trips. Having little ones fall in love with a home that won’t work for you will only make tough decisions harder to make. However, once you’ve narrowed down the search to a handful of solid choices, getting input from everyone who will be living in the house is invaluable.
In fact, just having your kids (or parents, if you’ll be sharing a multigenerationalhome) along may help you see things you wouldn’t normally notice, like potential safety or accessibility issues — or positives, like a great tree in the backyard perfect for fort-building.