Finding a Home
Buying a home doesn't have to be an overwhelming. Take the time to make a list of your Must Haves. Think about schools, neighborhoods, the commute to work, and recreational time. Are there parks near by? If you have Children, this may be something you want to take into consideration.
Then think about the home itself. How many bedrooms do you need? Is bathroom count crucial? Do you have pets? If they are outdoor pets, do you need a fenced in yard?
But don't get caught up on the small things! You'll want to modify any home you choose to make it your own.
Get a Loan
Getting Pre-approved with the right lender, not only ensures you can buy a home, it cuts down on looking time. The worst thing you can do is look at a home and fall in love with it, just to find out you don't qualify for the loan, so knowing your price range up front is advantageous.
Agents work with Lenders on a daily basis and will be able to point you in the right direction, if you don't have a lender in mind.
Making the Offer
Not only do you have to get approved for the loan, the home you are wanting to buy has to qualify for it as well. That's why it is important to have your agent do a Comparative Market Analysis, and see what comparable homes in that neighborhood have sold for in the last 3-6 months, and which properties are under contract. By doing this your agent can tell you whether the house is over-priced, or right on the money.
Do a Home Inspection
Its very important to order a home inspection after your offer is accepted. This is your way of making sure there are no major issues with roofing, foundations, plumbing, etc. If the home inspection reveals major issues, you have the right to cancel the contract. But it's imperative to do the inspection within 10 days of having your offer accepted. Otherwise, you may be stuck with costly repairs.
Sellers are generally not required to make repairs, but most are willing to negotiate repairs, rather than have a deal fall through.