House shopping can be a stressful experience. Not only are you looking for the perfect home, but you also need to contend with other issues such as financing. Preparation is the easiest way to make sure that your house shopping goes smoothly and easily.
Before you begin your house hunt, you should make two lists: features that you need in a home and features that you want in a home. The features that you need should be things that you are absolutely certain you require; this will help you narrow down your housing search. The features that you want will give you guidance regarding which properties you view first and focus on.
By getting your financial documents in order, you'll be able to put an offer in for a home quickly. In many markets, homes can be placed on the market and accept an offer almost immediately. If you don't already have a qualification from a bank, you won't be able to put in an offer -- and this could lead to losing out on the ideal property for you.
For a buyer, there's really no reason not to work with a real estate agent. The real estate agent's fees are rolled into the purchase price of the house itself, so you pay nothing extra by hiring a realtor. Some companies, like Lisa Burridge & Associates Real Estate, know that a realtor will be able to assist you in finding a home and will be able to educate you on the home values in your area. They will also be able to assist you through the process of escrow and closing.
When looking for a home, you sometimes need to do a little legwork. In addition to MLS listings, you can also look through neighborhoods that you're interested in -- many properties will have for sale signs and open houses. Classified ads (both online and in the paper) will also frequently have information regarding the homes currently available. Your real estate agent should be able to get you a showing at any of these properties.
In general, your first step should be to find a real estate agent. A real estate agent will be able to guide you through the rest of the process -- and they can give you a realistic picture of your current options.
About the author: Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer on behalf of Lisa Burridge & Associates Real Estate. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn't on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.