House tour reveals information that you can’t get obtain from online search. Here are topics that you should look for during a house tour:
- Neighborhood impression – Does it have the vibe that you want?
- Direct neighbors – Do they have dogs that bark constantly? Do they have garbage piling up at their back yard? (yes, this can happen)
- Floor plan – Draw it for yourself!
- Amount of sunlight – Modern technology enables adjusting lights in a photograph (e.g. the pictures from the listing website). To get a real feel of sunlight, a house should be visited at least twice; once in morning and once in afternoon.
- Surrounding noise (i.e. road noise) – Road noise can differ during traffic hours and non-traffic hours.
- Condition of the house, what you need to make it “livable”, and how much it will cost? – Note the condition of a house and take photos. Assess the fixations required to make it “livable” according to your standards and how much they will cost. Rough estimate of each upgrade can be found online. During house price comparison, cost (and days) of minimum upgrades should be factored in, since it is upfront cost.
- Two most expensive items to fix on a typical house are roof and pipes.
- How would you “live” the house? – Who will occupy each room? How would the common area be used? For example, would it better to convert a nook area (small dining area attached to kitchen) into a dining area and use the formal dining room as a study/activity room?
- Other potential risks – Ants in the house? Signs of termites? Where would visitors park their car?
- Consult with real estate agent if available – Real estate agents can provide insights that you could have missed. What do they think about the house?
- Overall impression – This is the most important and subjective criteria. What is your overall impression of the house?
I recommend visiting the house at least twice (in different time of day such as one on morning and one on night) if you are considering making an offer on it. Remember, you are going to make a biggest investment of your life and therefore make sure you verify your decision.