| Obtain Preapproval not Prequalification. As a pre-approved buyer you present a much stronger offer to a seller. It means your lender has verified that you have the ability to afford their home. Being pre-qualified means only that you have discussed financing with a lender. Many times there are unknown items that have yet to come to the surface.
Sell your home first. It is best to sell your home before looking for another one. An offer contingent on the sale of your present home can leave you stressed or disappointed. If you find the perfect house and cannot afford or do not wish to obtain a bridge loan, the next home may never measure up to "the one that got away." An offer only contingent on the closing of your present home puts you once again in a much stronger negotiating position. Selling first frees you from the potential of having two mortgage payments at the same time and you eliminate the pressure to take a lower offer on your existing home in order to get the new house you want.
| Decide what it is that is important to you before you ever step into a house. It is important to know how much square footage you need, what style of house you want, what area of town you want to live, etc. Drive through neighborhoods that appeal to you at different times of the day. Get a feel for an area, visit schools and churches if that is part of your criteria. Some things cannot be changed about a home. Things such as ugly wallpaper or outdated window treatments can be easily changed once you move in.
Don't rush into a decision.View many homes on the market to get a good feel for what is available. This process will help you define what you believe is important. You will know when you have seen enough properties; one or two will start to stand out from the others. This is the time to consider making an offer. You want to feel prepared and confident! Your agent can guide you through; it is a process and can be very satisfying.