When shopping for a home, most of us start the process by browsing the homes for sale online. Then we call our favorite real estate agent to set up some showings. Most homeowners are showing off their home at it’s best, so here’s some extra steps to take to avoid buying a home you might regret.

Visit the neighborhood at different times and days

Most of us visit properties in the middle of the day, while the neighbors are mostly at work. If you are seriously considering a home, you may want to visit the neighborhood early in the morning, to see how well traffic flows in and out of the neighborhood during morning rush hour. Visit early evening to see if the neighborhood comes to life then, because that could be a good thing or bad thing, depending on your perspective. And, visit on a weekend. Are your neighbors outside playing with their kids, visiting with one another, or working on their properties? Visiting at different times helps you learn the culture of your neighborhood, and make sure the neighborhood’s culture meets your preferences.

Visit the neighborhood on a rainy day

You definitely want to see how drainage works in the neighborhood. No one talks about this at property showings, so it helps to see in person. Does the ground get over mushy? Does water gather around certain homes, yards, or driveways?

Kids, Pets, and More

Don’t get me wrong, I love kids and pets, but bad kids and noisy pets can ruin a relaxing day at home. Do you see bikes and scooters dropped near the road? Are kids walking in the street with no concern about traffic? These can be signs of unsupervised kids in the neighborhood. Dogs running the neighborhood without a leash can be scary, and barking dogs are my pet peeve. We looked at a home earlier this year, and the entire time we were inside the home, the dog barked without ceasing. We would have considering buying this home, but we knew that barking dog would drive us crazy! The more – check out the front and back yards of neighboring homes. Usually they’re going to look the same next year as they look this year. So, if the view of your neighbor’s backyard makes you upset every time you look out the window – this is probably not your dream home.

These are just a few things to help you avoid buying the wrong dream home for your family.