Tapping into expert information before making a large purchase is always a good idea. When one is considering the purchase of a home it may well be the largest expense of your life. Thus, the following steps in preparation of shopping for, offering on, negotiating on, and entering into a contract to buy a home can be most informative for you.
First, financing is key, you must know how much you can comfortably spend on a home purchase. This is a crucial first step and will begin with your chosen lender. Typically you will go to the bank or credit union you are currently doing your banking with as they have a good idea of your financial strengths. They will ask you a few questions to determine the level at which you can spend and you will then need to ask the lender to provide you with a Pre-qualification letter. This letter describes your prospective loan amount that you are qualified for and will act as a document that will be used at the time you make an offer on a property to strengthen your offer to the seller. Proving to the seller that you are capable of purchase and not just a tire kicker that is, looking, but not a serious buyer.
Next, is the shopping part, the best part! You can go on qualified websites, (like this one) and search the Multiple Listing Service (MLS for short) that will show you all of the homes in your price range that are listed and ready to be sold. You can also search independent sites like, Zillow, Realtor.Com and others. At this stage you may want to engage a realtor to aid you with your search. In either case you will need to make a note of the 7 digit MLS number and/the address of any homes that seem to be of interest to you as you surf the online options. If you are using a realtor that person can use the MLS number to garner specific data for you and then email that information to you to help you with your search. Or, you can do deeper searches for tax records and such if you have the time to do so. Armed with the addresses of possible homes you can do a drive by of the property to how it looks "from the curb". And if the look suits your needs at this point schedule an in home viewing of the property.
Making an offer and contracting to purchase will be covered in part 2 of this series. Thanks for viewing.