Get a mortgage pre-approval before you start looking at homes. Your agent can recommend a good Loan Officer if you don't already have one.
I believe that finding a home is more of an elimination process than a selection process. If there are 20 homes for sale that fit your criteria, see them all and continue to compare the property you're viewing with the best one you've seen. When you've seen all of the homes on your list, you'll be left with the best option for your budget.
Be realistic with your expectations. If your budget doesn't allow you to get everything that you want, figure out what features and attributes are mort important to you and be prepared to compromise.
Most importantly, enjoy the process. You've decided to take a very exciting step. There will be stressful times during the process, but overall this should be a happy time. A good agent and loan officer will make the whole process more enjoyable and keep the stress level down.
You should educate yourself about the home buying process so that you are comfortable when you go out looking. There are books on the subject, one of the best ones is Home Buying for Dummies. It will cover most of the aspects of home purchase. Once you have an idea of what to expect, you can move forward to interviewing good "Buyer Agents". Buyer Agents have training in working with Buyers and will help and guide you all along the way.
- Interview agents, and select a Buyer's Agent that is a good fit for you. Ask them lots of questions (years in the business, number of properties sold, make-up of their business - listings versus buyers, specialty areas, designations, and most importantly - get client references with names and numbers)
- Constantly ask questions throughout the process.
We recommend you research some significant sources of public information. For example, perhaps it is important to know if there are hazardous material spills or a superfund site in the area of your prospective new home.
Visit the Beverly MA Home Inspection web page on the United Inspection Service website for links to Home Buyer Resources. (Superfund sites, Hazardous Material Spills, Flood zones, and more)
United Inspection Service
My advice: Get qualified first, remember this is not the last home you'll ever own, buy what you like but keep your first home something that will sell easily when you are ready to sell. Be careful of condos and home owner associations. If you do any work or have any work done - make sure you get the necessary permits, and take pictures of before during and after so the next owners will know how it was done. There is a lot more to know, but that will get you started.
Above all - use a real estate professional. You'll save time and bypass many potential problems.
(There are 2 Condos and 33 Single Family homes for sale in Wenham today.)
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Good luck to you!!
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If you're planning on taking on a mortgage make sure you first meet with your bank or mortgage company to establish your pre-approval. You want to do this for two reasons. One, you'll know exactly what you can afford and secondly, you'll need the pre-approval letter for any offer that is submitted.
You should meet with a realtor to understand the process. For a first time home buyer, or anyone for that matter, it can be confusing and you want to understand what will happen every step of the way.