Once you have completed the preliminary tasks - assessing resources,
pre-qualifying for a loan, defining needs and wants - you can begin the search
for a new home.
STRATEGY #1: Adjust your search to the price range, environment and
needs previously established - don't look at houses with two bedrooms if you
need at least three.
STRATEGY #2: Shop when others aren't. Across the country, April and
May show the most demand for houses. Sellers may not feel pressured to make a
deal because there are so many home shoppers. The best times to look are during
late summer and from Thanksgiving through the winter. Learn the local pattern
before beginning your search.
STRATEGY #3: Ask friends, family and neighbors who live around your
ideal neighborhoods if a house will be coming on the market soon.
STRATEGY #4: Scout neighborhoods and write down addresses of houses
you like. Find out their names and phone numbers by looking at public land
records, call and ask if they are contemplating putting their house on the
STRATEGY #5: Always bring a notepad and tape measure to gather
information about the house. Find out square footage of the lot and house, room
sizes, number of baths and bedrooms, property taxes, average monthly utility
bills and the ages of the appliances and mechanical systems. You might want to
jot the floor plans down so you can envision the house later.
STRATEGY #6: Get as much information as you can about
the sellers. Ask them why they are selling, how long have they have lived there,
are they scheduled to settle on a new house, etc. Finding out all you can
strengthens negotiating power, should you decide to make an offer.