How Much Time Should You Spend Viewing Homes?

March 29, 2022

Asking how much time you should spend viewing properties for sale seems moot.  The obvious answer is: As long as it takes to make a decision!

Is it that simple though?  Your time is precious.  You don’t want to waste it on properties that you may not be interested in.  You may end up missing out on viewing a property you might actually like.

You also need to make sure you have all the information necessary to confidently make the best decision.

That is why, I find it useful to differentiate between the three stages to viewing a property:

1. Macro
2. Micro
3. 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 have a good realtor who can narrow down search criteria, this stage may even be done mostly online and quite fast.  Thanks 360 video tours!

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.

In a competitive bidding environment, you may not get a chance to involve a professional home inspector.  Although not a substitute for a home inspector, a good realtor will help guide you as to what to look for when judging the condition of the property.