6 Essentials You Need For Your Next House Hunt—And 4 That You Don't

6 Essentials You Need For Your Next House Hunt—And 4 That You Don't

By Kelly Dawson
The next time you plan to walk through a new door, don't forget these key essentials.

The stereotype of setting out on a long, intensive journey often involves leaving home, not finding one. Yet, as anyone who has ever set out to buy a property will tell you, this is a process that often feels more like embarking on an odyssey, and less like a stroll around the neighborhood. And without a map, it's easy to get overwhelmed. 

"For starters, I'd recommended hiring an experienced local realtor that you can trust," says Susan Jones, a realtor and co-manager at 3 Leaf Realty in Manhattan Beach, California

"Next, I'd get pre-approved for a loan to make sure your finances are in order. Your agent should have a list of preferred lenders to help make the process streamlined, including all of the financing options so you can find the best fit for you," Jones continues. 

Her clients fall into the three self-described categories of "move-up buyers, empty-nesters, and investors," she explains, and they're seeking out single-family homes in one of the most coveted areas of Los Angeles. 

She's been the local agent that clients turn to for advice for more than a decade, so we asked her tips on what every potential home buyer needs to know for this particular adventure. 

But instead of focusing on its bigger plot points—like the aforementioned loans and even choosing a location—Jones is providing her insights on an often overlooked detail: what to pack while house hunting. 

Below, she reveals the things everyone should have as they tour potential addresses, as well as the objects—and people—that will only put obstacles in your path. 

What essentials should people bring on a house hunt?

1. Your agent: "She or he knows the local market best and will help you see beyond the pretty staging," Jones says. "They'll also help determine if the home needs a little TLC or a major renovation."

2. A smart phone or camera: It's easier to remember what you like or don't like about the property when you have a few photos at hand. Plus, "you can take videos for Mom's approval," she jokes.

3. Pen and paper: "You should take notes on each home," Jones explains, which will accompany the photos with more detail. "After the third one, it can all become a blur."

4. A tape measure: Measure the furniture you know you're going to have in your new property, and then use a tape measure to see if it will actually fit. It's also a good idea to measure room sizes, windows, and door frames to determine if they're large enough for your liking—or if some changes need to be made. Don't forget to measure closets and cupboards, too. 

5. Comfortable shoes: This is a no-brainer if you consider how much moving you'll be doing throughout the day, but it's also important if you're checking out homes with new flooring. "They need to be easy to remove," Jones says, in this case. "Otherwise, getting those protective booties on and off will be a struggle."

6. A family member or good friend: "It can help to have advice from someone you trust," she states. Make sure this person knows what you're looking for in a home, and can help you get perspective on how a property best suits your tastes. 

What are some things people should not bring?

1. Food and drink: It's a good idea to eat ahead, since you don't want to potentially spill anything. Furthermore, you shouldn't use the bathroom on a tour, she notes. 

2. Kids and pets: "They can divide your attention and make it difficult to focus on the home," Jones explains. 

3. Paperwork: Keep anything related to your finances, as well as all of the information you gathered online, at home, she says. Not only is it tough to carry around, but it may also be an unnecessary distraction.

4. The "know-it-all" friend: This is the foil of the trusted friend who doesn't do much to seek out your wants in a property. Instead, he or she is overly critical for what seems like no reason at all. If this person has to be involved, then "save that tour for the housewarming party," she adds. 

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