Pre-approval: Get pre-approved from a mortgage broker. This will let you know how much house you can afford. It’s based on debt to income ratio, how much you make, credit score, and more. It will also let you know if there are things you need to address before being able to get a mortgage. Even if you can’t get approved for a mortgage, this should show you what you need to fix.
Preparation: Be prepared to look at a lot of houses quickly in a seller’s market. Don’t fall in love with any one house, because you might not end up getting an offer accepted on a house you love. I describe this as zen cheetah.
Search: Search for every listing online with whatever site you feel most comfortable with. Get a feel for what’s available at different price ranges in your area. If you have a question on a particular listing, text or email your realtor. They can give you information that doesn’t show up on an online search. You are your own best advocate when looking for new listings.
- Inspection: Your Realtor should probably write the offer with an inspection contingency. This will allow you to hire an inspector, or at the very least walk through yourself with an eye on finding any defects. An inspector can find issues with major appliances, roofing, structural members, foundation, basic plumbing, electrical and other things that may require specialized inspection. This information can be used to negotiate in the process of buying whether requesting some work to be done or the price to be lowered.