Doing a little work early can make buying a home far easier and less stressful!
Pick your favorite area
You can be as general or specific is you like. One of the goals here is to pick the area so that you get a more accurate loan pre-approval.
Nothing feels worse than finding a home you love and want to purchase only to discover you cannot qualify for the loan to get it. Pinning down how much you can afford should be a first step in the process – but also keep in mind that you should try to stay as far UNDER the amount you qualify for as possible!
Shop for that loan!
Remember, you do NOT have to get your loan from the same organization that gives you a pre-approval. Shop for a loan like you would anything else – visit banks, credit unions loan brokers and online lenders to see who is giving the best rate and terms for your loan.
Be smart, borrow what you WANT not what you CAN!
Staying under budget can be a challenge, but I always encourage my clients to do this. With the loan approval amount as your max, walk it back based on your desire to save some money each month.
Create automated home searches
Realtor.com is your best bet for finding homes listed for sale without having to work with a real estate agent. Remember, not all listings that realtors put into the MLS end up on all the real estate sites like Zillow, Trulia and Redfin.
Partner with a real estate agent
To be certain that you are seeing all the homes that are listed on the MLS, you will need to use the search tools provided by real estate agents. You can access mine right here on my site. You can start a search here or you can get a free online estimate of your homes value here.