Since your home is such an important part of your life and probably the biggest expense you’ll ever endure, it’s important to try and cover all your bases during the house hunting process. In all likelihood you’ll use a real estate agent for house hunting, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do some work of your own! Here are some tips to help you out:

1. Make a Checklist

There’s nothing like a checklist to help ensure you keep track of important aspects of a home, and keep your sanity during the process. Make a list of all the features and elements that are important to you in a new home, then check off the appropriate entries at each house you visit.

Try to leave space at the bottom for extra notes, so you can jot down any pertinent information. A simple paper notebook and pencil will do the trick, or you can download a spreadsheet app on your smart phone for easier access.

2. Drive Through Different Neighbourhoods

Your real estate agent may be the best in the business, but they’re still human and may not get to every promising property right when it becomes available. If possible, take a drive through some of the neighbourhood you may not have mentioned to your agent and look for ‘for sale’ signs. You may find some new listings or ‘for sale by owner’ homes that weren’t listed.

3. Visit Open Houses

Open houses are a great, no-pressure way to get in there and see what a house is really like. You’re able to look around without any pressure to purchase, which can give you a better insight to your true feelings about the space. This is a good time to bring your notebook, too!

4. Real Estate Guides and Papers

Those real estate papers and guides you see as you walk out of the grocery store sometimes have some good leads to follow! There’s a good chance that your agent is already aware of these available properties, but being able to see all available options without a biased opinion can be beneficial.

5. Take a Few Breaths

The house hunting business can be very hectic at times, so it’s important to find some moments to relax along the way. Keep in mind that it’s only temporary and once you find that perfect home to call your own, it will all be worth it. Whether it’s long walks, hitting the gym, meditation or just breathing deeply, take the time to unwind so the house hunting process can remain an enjoyable experience for everyone involved.