Make Your Home Search Easier with a Home Comparison Scrapbook

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According to the American Housing Survey, the average home buyer looks at a minimum of 10 homes before making a purchase. But unless you have a photographic memory, it will be impossible to remember all the details from each house.

But one way to preserve the look, features and style of each home for future reference is by creating a home comparison scrapbook. This scrapbook can contain photos, first impressions, mechanical details and more about each home. When preparing your scrapbook, use these tips to create a book that will help you choose the right home.

What to Include in Your Scrapbook

Neighborhood on pond image

Photos from around the neighborhood will help you visualize living there.

One of the most important things to include in your scrapbook is photos; after all visuals can you help you retain information a little easier than jotting down ideas. While you can grab photos from the original buyer's listing, it’s also a good idea to take some of your own, as you’ll be able to focus on the aspects most important to you.

Additionally, you'll want to include information on the neighborhood, school district, crime rates, driving distances and comparable home values. Include any defects you notice in the home, such as an old water heater or the need for new paint. Once you’ve compiled all this data, do a side-by-side comparison with the houses you liked the most. This way, you can eliminate options that don’t meet your must-haves and put the contenders into a big pile to sort through later.

Take Quality Pictures

As the saying goes, pictures are worth a thousand words. In that vein, try to take quality pictures of all the home elements that weren’t featured in the listing, such as the flooring, home's exterior or bonus rooms. Of course, you won’t want to lug around a camera to every open house, so consider using the camera on your smartphone, like the Samsung Galaxy S8 instead. With a 12 megapixel, rear-facing camera and dual-pixel technology, this phone lets you take photos in any light and that rivals even the most expensive digital camera. The lightning-fast focus and aperture adjustment are perfect for quick snaps, too.
(Editors Note: when visiting a new home model, please remember to ask before taking photos, in some cases you'll be asked not to photo the home, especially if it is a pre-sold home open for touring.)

Make Notes While at an Open House

When visiting a prospective home, you might try to live in the moment and save your note-taking for later when you’re alone. However, by the time you get back to your car and whip out the notepad, you’ll have forgotten many important details. Your working memory can only hold between four to seven items at a time, so it’s crucial to record everything on your tour. Instead of carrying around a notebook, simply take notes on your smartphone.

Decide on Format

woman at computer image

Using a digital scrapbook can let you share with family and friends.

These days, digital formats are becoming more popular, with e-books and online photo albums taking the world by storm. Because of this, it might make more sense for you to create a digital scrapbook in which you can browse on your laptop or tablet. In fact, there's plenty of software out there that can help, such as MyMemories Suite 5 or Panstoria Artisan 4.

However, many people appreciate the actual feel of a scrapbook in their hands, especially when they can flip between the pages to make comparisons. If you’re more of an old-school type, invest in a binder and print out all the details you need, then put them inside sheet protectors in the appropriate order. You’ll also want to get your photos printed.

With these tricks in mind, you should have no problem deciding on your dream home. An estimated 41 percent of home buyers said the process was manageable, and by using your scrapbook, you’re sure to find it just as easy.

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