So you jump in the car with iPad in hand (while your partner drives) and hit the road for some weekend open houses.
It’s fun to start, but by the fifth one you’ve already dodged a few potential arguments about carpet or tiles and you’re getting hungry. Things can only get worse.
This is supposed to be a fun experience, looking for your first home with your spouse. And it can be. There are just a few things to think about before heading out.
Plan your trip
Don’t over do it. Pick a region like the western suburbs and do southern suburbs next weekend. You don’t want to be on the road all day, you want to maximize your time in the properties. Also you don’t want to be rushing from house to house to get there in time from across town.
Pick a route that makes sense. Do a circuit from home to home so you don’t back-track too much.
Plan to stop somewhere for lunch. I know when I’m hungry I get cranky. This way you might be able to be objective about why you want a place with a third bedroom for your model trains, rather than just sounding like a three-year-old having a tantrum. And why not, you need the decompression time to reflect on what you’ve just seen.
If you end up somewhere new and don’t know where to stop for lunch try local mind. It’s a location based Q&A app, ask a question – where’s good for lunch in X – and you’ll have a few responses in 20 minutes. It’s also a useful app to see what’s available in the area you’re looking in. With the list view you can see all the shops, cafes, train stations and services around you.
Speaking of location-based apps: you can give highlight a go to see what kind of people are in the area. It links to your Facebook profile and highlights nearby people with similar interests. Just another way to see if the suburb is right for you. It’s a fun way to kill time while waiting for the agent if you’re a bit early too.
Bring bottled water
Yes mum. And a cardigan too. But seriously, it’s a good idea. If you’re fair-skinned you might want to remember to put sunscreen on too, hopefully you’ll be looking at a few nice gardens.
Have a good breakfast
You’ll need the energy. I like to go out for breakfast in the area and do my planning from the cafe. You kill two birds. You get a feed and get to know the area a little better at the same time. Ask the waitstaff for grassroots information. This is also a good time to talk about expectations, so you and your partner are on the same page. If you know what you’re looking for it’s more likely you’ll find it.
Take notes & photos
If you’ve got the iPad out already use Evernote to snap a few pics and take notes. Or just use the old pen and paper. There will likely be property flyers available, but the features that you are looking for and finding will have subjective value. Be a good student.