Buyers who are searching for a new home need to refine their skills of seeing past temporary features that they can easily change and see just the bones of the property. Most sellers make a good effort to show off the permanent features by decluttering and staging the home. However, it can happen that a home is staged so beautifully that it distracts the buyer from seeing the bones of the home.
Which leads to the question of how do you see past the furnishings to decide if the home will work for you? There are five important factors to take into careful consideration:
- Community - In downtown Chicago, whether you are buying a house, townhome, or condo, you will likely be joining an association. Ask questions about the business of the building, such as the following. How high are the reserves? Is there a special assessment? What do the assessments cover? What are the amenities? Be sure to tour all of the common areas and if you run into a neighbor ask for their opinion about the building as well.
- Location/view – Pay close attention to the location of your unit within the building. Is it close to the elevator? Will it be easy to move in and out of? Even if you stay a long time there may be an occasion where you need to move something big in or out. Listen for noises. Can you hear your neighbors? Take a good look at the view also. What is nearby? Will there be noise from a train or traffic? Are there any empty or surface lots nearby that might be developed in the near future? The city is always changing, will you be happy with change happening around you?
- Layout – If you can, look at the floorplan of the unit before you even visit. Imagine where your furniture might be. Does it fit? Are the bedrooms in a good location? What about the bathrooms? Will your guests feel comfortable moving around your home when they visit? Are there any areas that can’t accomodate more than one person? How many can cook in the kitchen or primp in the bathroom mirror?
- Fixtures – Most fixtures can be changed with minimal work and minimal expense. Look carefully at everything that will stay, from the floors, up the walls, to the ceiling. Make note of what needs to be changed, how long you are willing to wait to change it, and how big/expensive the project will be. Is this an acceptable timeline? Will the home be as beautiful as you can imagine when you are done?
- Furnishing – Although the furnishing won’t stay, it can give you a sense of what the home is like to live in. How is it positioned? Will yours be placed in a similar manner or will it fit in a different style? How large is the furniture? Is it larger than yours or smaller? How much room is there to maneuver around it? Will you have any problems with your furniture? If the home is decorated for the holidays is it done in a way that you might do it too? Is there still enough room to maneuver?
The next time you tour homes ask yourself these questions so you will be prepared to make an offer as soon as you find the right home!