If you are planning on buying a home in 2011, or any year for that matter, preparation is the key to getting the best deal when shopping for that new home. Here are some tips to help the potential homebuyer get started:
Define Needs vs Wants: Make a list of your needs versus wants in the new home. For example, if you have a large and growing family, then four bedrooms might be a necessity, while a pool might be a negotiable.
Select A Location: Spend some time driving around town, researching schools and local amenities, crime rates, and other safety considerations. Select three to five areas to focus your search on.
Get Pre-Qualified: Find out how much you will be eligible to borrow and begin the paperwork so you are prepared to move quickly should a great deal arise. Many sellers require that a pre-qualification letter accompanies the sales offer these days.
Contact an Agent: Ask family and friends, visit agent websites, perform a search for real estate agents that specialize in your target area. Let them know the price range you have been approved for, the type of home you want and what you don't want.
Read, Look & Search: Sign up for automatic listing notifications with your agent and begin viewing prospective properties online. Ask your agent for additional photos, virtual tour links and area maps. Once you find a property of interest, take a few minutes to Google it-it's often easy to see areas of concern from an aerial view as opposed to in person.
Whatever you do in preparation to looking for a new home, make sure you take the time to select a trustworthy real estate agent. You will come to rely on their expertise and a good one will make your search much more rewarding.