Visiting is usually the best way to learn about real houses or apartments, especially when the current practices of technology and business models still tolerates unreliable information on internet.
However, more than often, it has become the most frustrating thing for those who don’t have much time. So the question should be: How to make the best out of your house visiting tour so that you don’t waste your time, or save as much time as possible? Here are 5 tips that I find useful and applicable to make your house hunting better when working with agents:
1. Clear expectation
Only work with agents that can understand your language well enough, and stress on the criteria that you can’t compromise on such as noise level, location or special condition like pets allowed or decoration style… Be mindful when communicating with agents, as sometimes they keep saying “yes” without fully understanding your idea and that is how frustration creeps in.
2) Asking for pictures in advanced
Agents, most of the time will try to sell what they have, not necessary what you want. Therefore, asking for pictures in advanced would be a way to save time from visiting all of their portfolio. However, I suggest to be more open with options that you don’t really like when you see the pictures, as they might look different in reality for some photography reasons.
3) Taking note when visiting
It’s amazing how quickly memory fades. Make sure you have backup by taking photos or a short video tour if possible — it will really give you a full picture of what the house looks like. Apartment code or house address should also be written down.
After you have seen a dozen or more houses, it becomes very difficult to keep track of the features in each one. Make things a little easier by creating your own checklist to bring along to each home, and make notes on it during or immediately after each tour.
4) Timing your visit
Visiting house is a time consuming activity so you should allow it enough time to be effective. Most people think that it would take around 7–10 minutes for visiting 1 option but in reality it would take up to 15–20 minutes (including traveling time). So if you have 4 options in the list then you should make at least 1 hour free in your calendar.
5) Preparing for the uncertainty
Adding up to the story, there are plenty more things that could affect your happy tour such as traffic, weather, timing of landlords and agents. My advice is to avoid visiting in the afternoon during raining season in Vietnam and don’t take landlord’s professionalism for granted.
Besides, looking for real estate sites that enable virtual visit or live-in tours on the platform, where you can get a complete view of the property without even stepping out of your home, from not only one but different angles. Some of the popular sites offer this 360° degree viewing features are CommonFloor (India) or Hoozing (Vietnam).
Only after you feel confident enough about the option, can you go for a physical visit to double check and make decisions effectively.