Asking how much time you should spend viewing properties for sale is a little like asking, “How long should I spend trying on shoes?”
The answer seems obvious: As long as it takes to make a decision! Buying a home is significantly more complex than purchasing shoes – and the stakes are higher too! You need to make sure you have all the information necessary to confidently make the best decision.
There are basically three stages to viewing a property: Macro, Micro, and Professional.
When you view a home on a macro basis, you’re looking at it from an overall perspective. For example, you may do a general walk-through to get a first impression and determine if the property has the basic features you need, such as the number of bedrooms and the size of the backyard.
Macro viewing is often the fastest stage in the viewing process and can sometimes take just a few minutes
If you like what you see, then it’s onto the micro stage. At this stage you take a closer look at the details of the property. You might, for example, spend extra time in the master bedroom imagining how your furniture would look and fit.
The micro stage takes longer simply because the home is now on your shortlist. You’re interested and are considering making an offer.
Finally, the professional stage involves getting a qualified home inspector to go over the property with a fine tooth comb. That typically occurs after you’ve made an offer.