1. Find the right representative
Even if you’re not quite ready to buy, your Realtor® can be an absolute wealth of information, and can often offer ‘scoops’ on local developments you might not know about otherwise. Speak to your Realtor® first so that he or she can help guide you right from the start.
2. Find out what your price range is
Online mortgage calculators are a good place to start, but as you get closer to being ready to buy, there is no substitute for a written mortgage pre-approval. Just speaking to your lender is an extremely worthwhile venture – this is the only way to really get an in-depth picture of your overall financial picture and to discover exactly what you can reasonably afford to spend on a home (and possibly on renovating).
3. Find out what your local market looks like
The internet can be incredibly valuable in doing preparatory research. Be aware though that, not all the information you'll find may be accurate. Start with your Realtor® – he or she can direct you to valuable resources and immediately start e-mailing you real estate listings that may interest you.
4. Find out what your true needs and wants are
Put together a needs/wants list that takes into consideration your local market conditions, your price range, and the advice of your Realtor®.
5. Find your dream home!
Once you’re ready to make your move, you may be surprised by how quickly the process will proceed. Armed with your pre-approval, some market knowledge, and your needs/wants list, call your Realtor®, hit the pavement, and when you see ‘the house’, put in an offer.
With the right team behind you, it really can be that easy!