Have your Realtor set you up on property alerts that match your search criteria. Consumer sites like Zillow and Realtor.com do have a lag times on new properties when they are listed. You want your property alerts coming directly from the MLS. By the time a new listing shows up on Zillow it may already have an offer because it was actually listed 24 hours ago!! Send the ones you like to your agent so they can check out the immediate area, flood zones, flooding etc. so you can be aware. If the houses you like check those boxes you can start touring homes. It might be helpful to take notes on all the homes you visit. You will see a lot of houses! It can be hard to remember everything about them, so you might want to take pictures or video to help you remember each home.
Make sure to check out the little details of each house. For example:
- Test the plumbing by running the shower to see how strong the water pressure is and how long it takes to get hot water
- Try the electrical system by turning switches on and off
- Open and close the windows and doors to see if they work properly
It’s also important to evaluate the neighborhood and make a note of things such as:
- Are the other homes on the block well maintained?
- How much traffic does the street get?
- Is there enough street parking for your family and visitors?
- Is it conveniently located near places of interest to you: schools, shopping centers, restaurants, parks, and public transportation?
Take as much time as you need to find the right home. Then work with your Realtor to negotiate a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes in the same neighborhood. Once you and the seller have reached an agreement on a price, you will then go into a due diligence period which allows you normally 7-12 days to inspect the home! Just because you have a signed agreement DOES NOT mean you’re locked into buying that specific house.