Put Your Finances in Order - It's always good advice, but making sure your finances are in order before you begin looking for a home is crucial. Here are three ways to help make it happen:
*Know how much you have available for a down payment; and the source(s) of the funds; it's very handy information to have on hand when you're applying for financing.
*Avoid major purchases until you're in your new home; they could affect the amount you'll be able to borrow.
*Postpone that new credit card; and cancel cards you use rarely or not at all. The availability of a line of credit will reduce what a lender is willing to offer you.
Get pre-approved for your mortgage loan; it's easy to get pre-approval from your lender, and it costs you nothing but a little of your time. Don't underestimate the importance of this tip. Sure, you think it's a "buyers market" - at least until a seller is considering multiple offers on your dream home.
Choose an Attorney - If you're moving out of your area and don't have an attorney to represent you, it makes sense to secure the services of an attorney before you've found your next home; your Realtor can refer you to experienced attorneys in the area.
List your "Must Haves" and "Have Nots" - List the features you must have in your next home and the "must have" amenities in the surrounding area, as well as the things you'd like to avoid (a multi-story home, or a home of a particular architectural style, for example).