Buying a new home can be fun, and most stressful thing you will ever do in a lifetime. All the more reason to be prepared, especially in this day and age. To continue and make sure things go as smoothly as possible you have to make sure you have all your "ducks" in order. I've comprised a short and easy "first step" program to get you started:
1. Be ready to become a homeowner. Nothing beats being a homeowner and separating yourself from paying someone else's rent to paying on your asset.
2. Find out how much you are comfortable paying on your new home. Never buy more than you feel comfortable with or can afford.
3. Interview a few agents; don't just pick the first one you hear about or referred to. One that may have worked for your "friend or family" may not work for you.
4. Commit to that agent and establish rapport. What that means is "shopping around" and calling all the listing agents doesn't mean you have someone working for you.
5. Follow the advise of the professionals you hire.
6. Make sure you follow the steps, get pre-approved. You want to "shop" in your price range to find what you need.
There are tons and tons of information available for you online, but at the end of the day, a face to face meeting will get you the results and confidence you want and need to make you the "next" homeowner.
All of you pursuing this new venture, "first time home-buyer", "move up buyer," have some fun and I wish you all the best. Interest rates and home prices are incredible right now!! Make your 2010 the year for you!