Check into what homes are selling for in the areas you’re interested in to give you an idea of what you’re looking for. This will help later on when communicating your wish list with your real estate agent.
Take care of the budget.
Use an online mortgage calculator to determine what your monthly mortgage payment would be if you were to purchase one of these homes you’ve found online. Make some additional estimates for utilities and see if this fits into your budget.
Find an agent.
A good real estate agent will help you navigate the process every step of the way. Your friends and family will be great sources—see if any of your trusted contacts have someone they recommend.
Look at homes.
Be patient at this stage. Your real estate agent may show you a variety of homes to get your reaction on features they think you’ll like. Give your agent detailed feedback so they can show you homes that are perfectly suited to you. Sometimes, this process can take months or years—So be patient. Also, make sure you let friends and family know you’re looking for a new home--you may even find out about an amazing home before it hits the market.
Make an offer.
Once you’ve found your dream home, you may want to move quickly. Your agent will guide you on a reasonable first offer to start negotiations based on market conditions. Also, make sure you consider closing costs which could account for 2-5% of the home price.
When your negotiations with the seller are successful, and the inspection came back clean, you should be ready to close. At your closing, you’ll spend a little over an hour signing lots of paperwork and then will be handed the keys.