It’s a question that plagues plenty in the home searching process, and the concern is voiced in several different ways: Have I seen enough homes to make a decision? What if I settle before I see the right home?
Searching for a home can feel a bit like you’re trapped in a version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, but do you really want to settle just to be done with the process? You’ll be living in this home for years, and you deserve to love it.
So how many homes is too few, or too many? How do you know when you’ve found the perfect place? There’s no magic number, but we can share a few tips to help you feel a bit more confident in your final decision.
Plan Your Timeline
To determine how many houses you should look at, consider how long you have to make your decision. Do you need to be moved into a new place by next week? Realistically, you’re not going to see as many houses as, say, someone who has months or a year to look. Thinking about how long you want the process to take will help you set realistic expectations.
Utilize All Possible Resources
With all the technology available today, the home searching and buying process often begins online. You can review listing websites, consider different communities, and even take virtual tours at the click of a mouse or tap of your finger.
One of the most effective ways to spend your time in the home search process is by reviewing online listings. Look at the neighborhoods and areas you’re interested in, and determine which homes are worth driving by or even touring. Compile a list of questions you can answer through an online overview of the home, such as:
- Does this home have the number of rooms and bathrooms I’m looking for?
- How far is this home from work? What about the places I frequently visit? Friends and family?
- Is this a builder I am familiar with, or do I need to do further research?
- What are the local schools? How are students performing?
You might also have less common, but equally important, questions such as:
- Being connected to nature is important to me: Is there a park or walking trails nearby?
- My dog is a valued member of the family: Where is the nearest dog park? Vet’s office?
- Performing and seeing live music are part of my regular routine: How far are my favorite venues?
Compile this information into a spreadsheet for every home you’re considering. In your research, you’ll realize what’s most important to you. For example, one house might be far from work, but has the right number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and that might be a compromise you can live with (or not!).
Use these questions and values to guide your home search online; when a home still makes the cut, consider visiting the neighborhood and driving by the property. Seeing a home with your own eyes will reveal what online photos often don’t: Misshapen door frames, awkwardly long driveways, or a plethora of other things hidden through effective camera angles.
Stick with Your Reasonable Expectations
Once you start to gain momentum on your search, you’ll likely start to feel emboldened, but be careful not to set yourself up for burnout. Going to visit 10 different homes in one day might sound like a good idea in theory, but it’s also an easy way to become overwhelmed.
Limit it to about three houses per day; this will give you ample time to tour each home, take photos and notes, and still make it to your current home with enough time to eat dinner and recharge. More than three, and you’re likely to start blurring the homes together: Was it the fourth or fifth home that had an interior balcony overlooking the great room? Which had the option for a chef’s kitchen?
Instead of taking the risk of remembering wrong, take thorough notes on a few homes per day and then review them regularly. Keeping all of these notes in one place will make the sorting and compartmentalizing of information that much easier.
Don’t Expect a “One Home to Rule Them All” Situation
Unless you’re going the “custom build” route – which is definitely one you should consider – it’s not guaranteed you’ll come across one home and think, “That’s it. That’s the home I’ve been searching for.” Even if you do custom build, there’s still not 100 percent certainty.
As you progress through your home search, be sure and do a regular expectations check. Ask yourself, “Am I being realistic with what I’m looking for?” If you’re searching for a McMansion at a price point that would typically get you a bungalow, it doesn’t matter how many homes you view; you’re never going to find the right one.
At the same time, don’t compromise on what you feel is most important. If the goal is to move closer to friends, don’t sacrifice location for a home with the quartz countertops you’ve been dreaming of. Aesthetic upgrades are something you can think about down the line, but moving your entire home isn’t going to be an option.
Above All, Trust Your Gut
At the end of the day, you’re the only one that truly knows what home will meet all of your needs and is within your price point. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to how many homes you should view or what factors you should consider.
Want to look at new home listings all across the country? Head over to NewHomeSource to find your new home today!