Many consumers freeze during a "buyer's market." Many believe it is time to kick the tires, question home prices, question the market in general. Many feel they should wait "in case prices continue to decline." Not true, the definition of a "Buyer's Market" is that it is the best time to buy! The market cannot be timed, no one has a crystal ball and when you find the ideal home for you, you need an experienced professional that can negotiate the home to the price that you are willing to pay.
Keep in mind that the listing price is irrelevant. The value of a home is simply what an "able, willing and ready buyer" is willing to pay for the property. " If the Realtor that you have signed up with to represent you in the purchase of your home is skilled in negotiations, the result will be a win-win transaction and a fair price, no matter what the market conditions are. Make sure that your Realtor is representing you and not both sides of the transaction, that way you have representation working toward getting you the best price and the best terms and the seller has their own representation and that person will be working toward the best interests of the seller. While a minority of properties in every market are priced right and are not negotiable, the majority of listings are currently overpriced. Don't wait for the price on your ideal home to come down. When that happens, there will be multiple offers which result in the price getting bid up to "fair market value." If you want the best price, it is much more effective to be the only buyer at the negotiation table.
It is important, even critical, to an effective negotiation, that you do not get emotionally attached to a property. Make sure that the Realtor that you choose is as willing to walk away from non-fair pricing and bad terms as you are. Don't wait and try to predict the bottom when all is in your favor in terms of a buyer's market, low interest rates, tax credits, etc. but don't be in a hurry to settle for a home that does not meet your needs or for one that takes you out of your monthly payment comfort zone.
Before even beginning the search get preapproved by a reputable lender who works in your local market and is referred by your Realtor of choice. Experienced Realtors have a network of professionals who will perform on the loan once you are in a transaction. Make sure you understand the total monthly PITI (principle, interest, tax, insurance) payment before you decide on a price range you will shop within. Make sure to keep in mind that you will also need to set aside funds for repairs and maintenance in order to protect your investment. If done with the help of your local skilled professional, you can build the wealth of your lifetime thru wise real estate investments.