Okay, so you finished step 1 and after some soul-searching and discussion you have filled out the Buying Checklist. Then you did the reality check in step 2 and figured out about how much your purchase price can be, better yet, you have gotten pre-approved for a particular amount. Now what? Next is to find a home to meet your needs, wants and hopefully some of your dreams. Today’s real estate market is so different from when we bought our first home in 1978. There are numerous publications with homes for sale in them. You can pick them up just about anywhere. There is the Home Section of most newspapers that will list homes for sale in your area. Of course there is that magically place where you can find anything, The Internet.
Just as with anything else you want to buy there are literally hundreds of Internet sites that can help you find your new home. Some require a registration and others allow you
to browse anonymously. There are places like Craig’s List that help you search for actual properties but you must have a great deal of patience to sift through hundreds of postings. Also, postings drop off after a brief period so you have to be diligent in searching these sites frequently. There are sites that offer properties for sale that include lots of pictures and details. Places like Realtor.com and Zillow.com include homes for sale that are posted by real estate agents and can include pretty detailed information. There are also professional association web sites like San Diego Association of Realtors (http://SDAR.com) that allow lay people to view homes for sale that have been posted by members of their associations. Searching the Internet has quickly become the primary tool used by home buyers to see what is available. Some agents have gone so far as to create web sites for homes they are helping to sell. (Hey, sellers, make sure your agent is using every tool and resource available to reach these buyers as well, but that is for another post.)
Now for my plug, I truly believe every buyer should have their own agent to act as an advocate for the buyers’ interests. This agent can help you with your searches at all of these places and they have access to sites that you might not know about or have access to. Why limit your search and perhaps miss out on the perfect home for you? Believe it or not, most agents are just like me and truly have your best interests at heart. Having your own agent can save you the nightmare of a having an unfinished kitchen like I lived with for years. They can also put you in touch with professionals that can help you with the most important purchase of your life.
Enough about agents, this is really about you and your new home. To help you with your search you can find some additional resources and information at the Resources link on the right. Since this is probably the biggest investment of your lifetime, let’s make it a fun and successful adventure.