Once you are pre-qualified, you’ll know what price range to search in. Next, you’ll need to find the right location.
Where you’re going to live is largely determined by your job, your family status and your lifestyle. Most homeowners want to be within a reasonable commute to their place of employment. Start by looking in areas that offer mass transit or easy commuting via highways to your office.
Your life stage will also be a big factor in determining where to buy. If you have children, towns with strong school districts will appeal to you. If you’re single, cities with vibrant night-life may be for you. If you’re of retirement age, you may want to consider an age-restricted community.
Once you’ve settled on an area in which to live, you need to determine what kind of housing you want. Do you want a single-family home with a yard, or do you prefer the low-maintenance affiliated with condos and townhomes? Are you looking to augment your income? If so, a multi-family home may be right for you.
Now that you know what type of property you are looking for, you need to narrow it down to those that will balance your needs/wants. How many bedrooms do you need? How many bathrooms? Is a finished basement a must? Do you or anyone else in the home have special needs?
When you have compiled answers to the questions above, you will have your “shopping list” ready. Now, with the aid of a Realtor, you can shop for homes. It is a good idea to have your Realtor set you up to receive automatic emails whenever homes fitting your search criteria become available.
How many homes will you see? Every buyer is different. A good rule of thumb is to look at no more than five homes per tour; more than that and your brain will be overloaded with details it can’t possibly remember. Most buyers will go on two or three tours before settling on the top choice, but if you have a good feeling in your gut about a home, don’t be afraid to pull the trigger; it might not be available for long.