Finding the right house can be overwhelming, but these house hunting worksheets will help you get organized and keep track of the homes you visit, so you can make the best decision about which home suits your needs.
Househunting fatigue is real. You’ve seen a few houses, tried to keep track of which parts you liked and didn’t like, and at the end of the day you’re trying to make sense of it all.
Was the two story house the one with the backyard you liked? Was your favorite kitchen in the house by the railroad tracks? Why are they all running together in your mind?!
I’m sure there are plenty of psychological reasons for house hunting overwhelm, but the bottom line is it’s hard to keep everything straight, especially when a big decision is on the line. And, in the case of relocating to a new city, house hunting in an unfamiliar location makes it that much worse.
So I’ve come up with two simple house hunting worksheets to make the process easier, based on the criteria we use when finding new houses to flip. (We look at a LOT of houses!)
Overcoming House Hunting Fatigue
The trick to combatting house hunting fatigue is to be very specific about your wants and needs at the beginning, and then be flexible over time as you see what’s actually available.
If you can give your realtor a detailed description of what you’re looking for, it will help him or her narrow down all the available options and only show you houses that already fit your requirements. This will save you precious time and brain power.
So my first house hunting worksheet is a wish list. This is the part where we get specific.
Psst… If you want to grab your free printable house hunting worksheet now, scroll down to the bottom of this post for the link and printing instructions.
1. Get Specific about your Requirements
This House Hunting Wish List will help you brainstorm what you’re looking for in a house, and get it all down on paper to help your realtor find good options for you and your family.
Here are some things to think about when deciding what you want in a home.
First, let’s outline the basic necessities.
Square Footage. Do you want a certain amount of space to spread out in? Or are you looking for something small and easier to maintain?
Bedrooms/Bathrooms. How many bedrooms will you need for your family to have the spaces they need? Also, consider your hobbies and what you like to do at home, such as working out or working from home.
Some listings will have a certain number of bedrooms, plus an office space, so if you need 4 bedrooms because you have two kids and need a work-from-home office, but the listing only shows 3 bedrooms, check to see if there is an extra work space before you toss that one out.
Garage. Do you need a garage for your car? Or two or three for your bikes and hobbies?
Levels. Are you open to a two-story home, or do you need everything on one level?
Other. This is where you list any necessities that haven’t already been covered, such as area of town, school districts, access to public transportation, etc.
Now it’s time for preferences.
I’ve created spaces on the worksheet to expand on any ideas and preferences you have for your ideal home.
Exterior. Do you have curb appeal requests, such as design style, type of exterior material, or roof material? Are you looking for a pool in the backyard? Now’s the time to ask for that farmhouse style home with the wraparound porch and metal roof with gables!
Interior. Would you prefer carpet or hard floors? Looking for an open floor plan? Need a wine fridge in the kitchen? Add any ideas here that you’d like to try to find in your ideal home.
Location. Looking for a quiet cul-de-sac home for the kids? Want acreage for your pigmy goats? Need a little distance from your neighbors? Here’s where you think about the area around the house.
Avoid. Half the battle of finding the right house is being honest about what you don’t want. If you refuse to entertain the idea of buying a house on a busy street, then put that here so your realtor doesn’t waste your time showing you those.
Other Notes. You probably have ideas that don’t fit into the categories above. Throw them in this space, along with anything else you want your realtor to know about you. Like maybe you don’t know how to hold a hammer, so you need a move-in ready house down the street from a well-respected plumber. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want!
2. Get Ready to Make Compromises
Now that you’ve got the perfect house planned out in your mind, let’s just get real about one thing. The perfect house doesn’t exist. At least not at the price you want to pay.
I don’t mean to be a downer. In fact, I think the most hopeful and helpful thing you can do for yourself while searching for a house is to be flexible and reasonable about your expectations.
So this next worksheet is to help you keep track of all the houses you’ll be looking at. Whether you do all your house hunting in a weekend, or spread it out over several weeks, you’ll need some method of tracking what you’ve seen. I promise it all runs together after a (short!) while.
How to use the House Hunting Tracker
Whether you’re looking at a house in person, or browsing listing emails your realtor sent you, or searching online, you need a way to keep track of all the details.
Fill in as much of this worksheet as you can for every house. Try to do it before setting out or while driving away from the house. Don’t leave it till later in the evening after you’ve seen several homes or you’ll already have forgotten some of the details.
First, fill in the basics: address, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, listing price, and $/SF or price per square foot.
(Price per square foot is important if you’re trying to invest in the home for selling in the future or flipping, like me. If you plan to live in the home for a long time, use this simply as a guide to know if you’re getting a good deal compared to other homes in the area. Don’t get too hung up on it.)
Next, list any pros and cons you find when looking at the house either online or in person. Pros might include the updated kitchen or the big grassy lot. Cons might be the dated master bath or the power lines through the back yard.
There’s a column for notes at the end, for anything that doesn’t fit in the other columns. This might be information about the seller or a note to check for the nearest coffee shop location. (Priorities, people!)
Finally, go back and fill in the first column, called “Nickname”. I find this is the best way to keep track of different houses. Once you’ve looked at a house, you’ll get an idea for how to identify it.
- “The house with the blue door”
- “The fixer-upper in the perfect neighborhood”
- “The 2 story with the laundry chute that the kids tried to climb”
These nicknames will help you figure out what’s important to you, based on the things that stood out to you from the home. Be creative and descriptive and you’ll thank me later when you’re trying to sort through a bunch of addresses that mean nothing after looking at ten different houses!
How to Pick the Right Home
When finding the right home, sometimes you know when you know, like falling in love. Sometimes it’s the first house you looked at but then you think that can’t be right so you keep looking. And sometimes you just don’t know but you try to make the best decision you can, based on the evidence in front of you.
Remember, the most important thing about your home is what you make of it once you move in.
I know buying a home is a huge decision, but don’t be intimidated if you can’t find one that checks all your boxes. Most things can be changed or fixed, and sometimes you don’t know what you want to change until you’ve lived in the house for a while.
Trust your realtor, trust your instincts, and trust your worksheets. You’ve got this and you’re going to make a great decision!
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