Be picky, but don’t be unrealistic. There is
no perfect home.
Do your homework before you start looking. Decide
specifically what features you want in a home and which are most important
Get your finances in order. Review your credit report
and be sure you have enough money to cover your downpayment and your
Don’t wait to get a loan. Talk to a lender and
get prequalified for a mortgage before you start looking.
Don’t ask too many people for opinions. It will
drive you crazy. Select one or two people to turn to if you feel you
need a second opinion.
Decide when you could move. When is your lease up?
Are you allowed to sublet? How tight is the rental market in your area?
Think long-term. Are you looking for a starter house
with the idea of moving up in a few years or do you hope to stay in this
home longer? This decision may dictate what type of home you’ll
buy as well as the type of mortgage terms that suit you best.
Don’t let yourself be “house poor”.
If you max yourself out to buy the biggest home you can afford, you’ll
have no money left for maintenance or decoration or to save money for
other financial goals.
Don’t be naïve. Insist on a home inspection
and, if possible, get a warranty from the seller to cover defects within
Get help. Consider hiring a REALTOR® as a buyer’s
representative. Unlike a listing agent, whose first duty is to the seller,
a buyer’s representative is working only for you. And often, buyer’s
reps are paid out of the seller’s commission payment.