After viewing a dozen or more homes while shopping around for the perfect house, it's hard to remember the details about each property. Therefore, it's important to maintain a system for categorizing each place so you can quickly retrieve the information at a later time and compare the properties effectively. When compiling information, don't forget to find out what hidden costs are associated with the property.
Some methods for remembering the features of each particular house include photographing each room (with the owner's permission, of course), sketching out a layout of each floor or taking detailed notes as you walk through the property. When you take notes, make sure to include the small deficiencies that can't be seen in photographs, such as a leaky faucet or a chipped banister.
Try to visit the property that you're inclined to purchase at different times of the day and different days of the week. Some qualities that appealed to you about the house in the morning could turn you off in the evening, and vice versa. For example, you might like the idea of conveniently living across the street from your child's school; however the traffic this location causes in the early morning might dissuade you from going ahead with the purchase. It's also possible that your initial visit to the house was during a quiet morning midweek, but little could you have known that the corner near the house becomes a noisy teen hangout on the weekends.
Find out from the prospective sellers about other mandatory home-related expenses, such as elevator fees, cleaning fees or joint fence repairs. Ask for a copy of the neighborhood's restrictive covenants and find out what the homeowners association dues are. These additional hidden expenses could make the cost of the property inhibitive. Besides, it may force you to participate in a neighborhood expense even if you don't gain any benefit from it.