Talk to a few realtors. Select one who is a good fit for you. Explain your situation. Spend time with them in the office, get pre-qualified for a loan, know your limits, have the realtor send you daily updates in houses just above your price range, then a month or 2 before you would be ready spend more time with the realtor.
That way you will know what the market is in your area. You will have a lot of the information at your fingers instead of trying to cram it in at the last moment. meanwhile, go to open houses. Always say you have a realtor, otherwise they will try to get you to make them your new realtor. Doing this you will see the condition of houses at certain prices. Beyond that, you may find certain aspects of some houses you hate. Other aspects you love. Steep stairs, no thanks. Bedrooms all upstairs, no thank you. Big living room, that is great. Washer dryer in the basement, nah.. You will find that certain houses have a floorpan that makes getting around very easy, and other houses are harder to move around in.
Before buying look at the site below.
A nationwide forecast for real estate is below. Look on the left side, click on your state
http://www.housingpredictor.com/tennessee.html (for tennessee)
Q3 2009 U.S. Foreclosure Heat Map
3 reasons home prices are heading lower
Housing Inventory Still Dramatically Oversupplied â€” Before You Add In The Foreclosures
3 Mortgages Get Worse For Each 1 that Improves
Resets Projected to Cause Mortgage Crisis in 2010
All I ask is you look and do your research. Be aware of what is going on in your area. You may find that waiting a year, maybe 2 will pay you well.
Interest rates will go up, that will decrease prices. Unemployment, when high the unemployed do not get mortgages. If it drops to 7.3% you may find prices go up, until then, it is a real issue.
I hope this gave you as much of a reply as you needed.
Typically, most sellers expect buyers who are touring homes to be ready, able and willing to buy at the time they are touring. This is mainly because most people have to go through extra efforts to get their home ready to be toured, ie: put up pets, pick up clutter, arrange to not be at home, etc. Most sellers get high hopes when they have a showing and it's typically frowned upon when they learn from the feedback that the buyers where not ready to buy. That's why the real estate profession has provided the ease of the internet and virtual tours so that buyers who may not yet be ready, can shop homes and drive by the properties, without the extra burden on the sellers. I recommend that you continue to use the internet to search and look at properties until about 2-3 months from when you are ready to put a contract on a home. Another fact is that some of the homes you may tour today, could be off market or sold by the time you are ready to buy, so the extra effort would be wasted. You will also want to be pre-qualified if using a lender or have proof of funds if paying cash prior to seriously considering buying a home. Being prepared early will help in experiencing a worry free home buying experience. MLS Search http://www.GetaTNhome.com
As an agent, I can tell you that the client IS my time, not a waste of my time. Showing homes is the only way I can really get a feel for what the buyer is NOT saying, which can be very helpful. I encourage my buyers to look at as many houses in the price range they are qualified for as possible.
The advice about Realtor.com is excellent, they do have a great program to search. Or, you can call an agent you want to work with, and have them program you in to recieve daily email alerts to homes in your criteria. Our MLS system is excellent, and this option is available to every Realtor who is a member. The Parade of HOmes book is a client favorite, but most of the books go to press mid month; so the inventory is not as current as an email program or Realtor.com.
Drive the areas you like, and take note of the houses that are for sale.
Hope this helps!
Iâ€™d recommend starting your search as soon as you can. You donâ€™t need a realtor to get started. Figure out what you can afford (there are countless on-line calculators to help with this) and what youâ€™re willing to pay, and use this as a starting point in your search. Use real estate websites to help you find houses for sale in the areas you are considering and do drive-bys on the weekend to check out the locations. Make sure to look at some recent sales as well (they represent actually sales, not just asking prices which can be higher than market value or significantly lower than market value to bring in more traffic). Soon youâ€™ll be re-evaluating what youâ€™re looking for and how much youâ€™re willing to pay. Maybe youâ€™ll find you can or canâ€™t afford that garage or large backyard. By the time youâ€™re ready to meet with a realtor youâ€™ll know exactly what criteria to give them and what type of houses to expect in your price range. The advantage of looking without a realtor first and getting a basic understanding of the local market is that youâ€™ll be able to utilize them and their resources efficiently instead of them simply leading you around like a lost puppy. Youâ€™ll be more confident and more demanding (resulting in you getting something closer to exactly what youâ€™re looking for and in a price range you feel comfortable with), and youâ€™re realtorâ€™s time wonâ€™t be wasted (itâ€™s a win/win).
One thing you may want to do early on is review a copy of your credit report and make sure everything is accurate. I had a mistake on mine, that luckily didnâ€™t affect anything with my pre-approval/loan, but it shows that errors can and do happen. It took about 2 â€“ 3 weeks to get the error fixed (it was actually pretty easy to do, but Iâ€™ve heard of nightmares).
Anyway, good luck on your search. It was a really fun and exciting time for me. You'll learn a lot along the way. At first it seems like it's impossible to understand everything and you're walking through a heavy fog, but slowly everything starts to clear up. I hope it ends well for you.
You can search for real estate by your criteria and get daily updates.
It is just about the same exact mls database that the realtors use.
I thought if you asked a realtor for that now it would be an indication of they were willing to work with you by sending you those updates.
Does that help Margie?