Hire a Real Estate Agent When Buying a Home
Working with a real estate agent is one of the easiest ways to buy a home. An agent has the experience and knowledge of the housing market to help you find the right home.
If you create a list of features you want, the agent will contact you when a property that meets your needs is listed for sale. Your agent will do much of the work during your search, including setting up tours, assisting with negotiations, and writing up your offer to purchase.
Get a Mortgage Pre-Approval
When you’re ready to buy a home, talk to a mortgage lender to qualify for a pre-approval. This will give you an opportunity to take a closer look at your finances and learn how much a bank is willing to lend. Knowing your budget will help you narrow down your home search.
Know What You’re Looking For
As a homebuyer, you’ll have better luck finding the perfect home if you know what you’re looking for. Most websites allow you to search for properties based on the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. You might be able to search for homes with a certain number of acres or sort your findings by square footage.
Make a list of features you want and need when buying a home. You might hope for a finished basement, but know that you need 3 bedrooms. The kids will enjoy a swimming pool in the summer, but it’s not a necessity. You have decided that you do not want to commute more than 20 minutes to work. Talk to your real estate agent about your needs so he or she can get a better idea of what you’re looking for.
Choose the Right Location When Buying a Home
Depending on your lifestyle, the location of the property may be just as important as its features. You might want to be near a park for the kids. Convenience to shopping centers, grocery stores, and the doctor’s office could be important to you.
Alternatively, you might prefer to live a distance out of town where the property is less expensive and you can have more property for gardening. It’s helpful to know your preferences when buying a home.
Know the zip code where you’d like to live or a specific neighborhood or two. If you’re unsure, your real estate agent may be able to make recommendations of areas that have the amenities on your wishlist.
Looking for For-Sale-by-Owner Properties
Not all properties will be listed online or on MLS websites. For a more complete search of available homes, look at local print publications and social media sites. Properties that are for-sales-by-owner won’t always appear on websites; though you may have luck using Craigslist or similar online marketplaces to find a house. You can also drive around neighborhoods you’re interested in to look for real estate for sale signs.