Use a Home Buying Checklist

A Home-Buying Checklist is probably one of the important items to have in your hands when you start the house-hunting process. If you’re seriously looking for organizational help buying a home – you need a home buying checklist – period.

If you’re like me, you tend to be a little un-organized, particularly when you start a project or activity you don’t do every month or year like house-shopping.  When I’m in the market to buy a home, I know I need some organizational help and a home buying checklist provides just that.

What should be your home-buying checklist look like? That will obviously vary from person to person, but the best checklist I’ve found is actually a freebie from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. I’ve provided a link below.

I really like the layout of HUD’s home buying checklist, and it’s broken down into four sections:

1) The Home

It goes without saying that “the home” is a key part of the buyer’s checklist. This part of the checklist offers a concise method of what to look for in the home, and notes you can make as you walk through and around the home.  At the end of a long day of looking at homes, how are you going to remember the details of each home – your likes and dislikes?

Let’s say you looked at four houses on a Saturday. At the end of the day, what do you have to help you remember what you looked at? Four realtor sheets? What if there things about home No. 2 you loved, but several things you disliked as well? Get your HUD home buyer checklist and use it.

I would also recommend taking several pictures of each house – a front view, street view, rear view, and a couple of interior pictures as well.

2) The Neighborhood

Just as important as the home is the neighborhood the home is within. What’s the appearance of the area? Is traffic a problem? Is this area safe? Trust me – these are things a savvy realtor won’t talk about most likely – it’s up to you to investigate.

3) Schools

While this is a key home buying tip for younger couples, strong schools often reflect strong home values and shorter marketing times. So, schools are also important when you become a home seller as well.

4) Home convenience

I place this in my neighborhood section, but HUD places convenience features as a stand-alone. How is this home situated to your world? Is it within a reasonable commute to work, school, shopping, church, etc.

Getting organized is the first step in a successful buying experience, whether you are first time buying or an experienced buyer, of if you are buying a new home or an older home. It is critical to get organized and stay organized through the process of buying. Get an inexpensive folder, download the home buyer checklist from below, take pictures, and make tons of notes – you won’t regret it.

I highly recommend HUD’s buying checklist.  The link is found below.  Print it out several times and have one handy on your next home visit.

A big Thanks to Garry Conn at

You may notice from my footer that this site was designed by Garry Conn – free of charge I might add.  Well, technically free, but not a freebie. 

Garry is one of the true stand-up bloggers out there today and he’s been encouraging me for some time now to start a real estate blog – which I’ve done here.  Thanks Garry – looks great!

Garry blogs daily at: and

Both sites are chock-full of tips, helpful ideas and just generally good, non-hypey stuff.  Check it out.

First Time Home-buying Tips – Location is Key!

Are you in the process of first time home buying?  Maybe you’ve heard this saying  – The three most important things to consider when buying a home are location, location and location.  While it is cliche’ – I’ve found in my experience that the statement is very accurate.

For this reason alone – location education is a “must learn” on your home buying checklist. 

In my experience as a real estate professional I’ve found that most things which provide value to a home can – to at least some degree – point back to a home’s location.  A great home in a bad location will never be more than an overall average home, and a stinker of a home in a great location will usually find willing buyers.

Draw upon my real estate knowledge and let me provide some locational assistance – which is one of the key first time home buying tips.

Let’s take a closer look at what this “Location, location, location” phrase really means. If you’re a first time home buyer it’s okay to admit you haven’t decided exactly which location feature is “most” important to you just yet – that’s o.k.  However, I can tell you from a home value perspective, here are three key Location elements to consider during your first time home buying experience:

1) Neighborhood Location

Many things make a neighborhood desirable, but three primary universal factors are:

  •  Conformity of homes to a high quality standard.  Homes in your location should be well built and in good condition.  If half the homes are in dis-repair, and the other half have become rentals – keep looking! 
  • Safety of neighborhood.  Your potential location should be overall safe.  It doesn’t have to have a spotless police blotter – but you better make sure convicted child predators, felons and other bad folks are in the area.  There are many ways to check for this.
  • Good schools.  This is very important if you have younger children, or are plannning to have children.  It also has proven to be a key element of many people’s home buying checklist – thus, it increases home values.

2) Street location

A great home in a desirable neighborhood, but with bad access, high adverse noise influence or other negative factors should be considered.

3) Amenities Location

I live in a neat, little addition that is tucked away off a significant carrier and is just a couple of minutes from the local mall, restaurants, movie theatre, health club.  I can’t tell you how much I love this aspect of our location. And, while I frankly didn’t even fully consider it when we built the home – the amenity location has propelled home values to very lucrative levels for homeowners in the addition. 

Some folks make the mistake of finding an ideal “retreat” home that is often in the middle of nowhere.  Guess what? Others may or may not have a desire to live that far removed.  So, use caution when considering a amenity location – is it universal?