Your first step should be to get pre-approved by a mortgage lender. Your loan officer will discus your loan options, what your comfort zone is, and what your redline is. Besides, most realtors will want to see the pre-approval letter before they start showing you houses. Feel free to email or call if you have any questions. Good luck.
Obviously you will need financing if you don't have enough money, and a knowledgeable buyer's agent will be indispensable if you don't understand the intricacies of buying a home...
BUT, there is still the matter of coordinating your tastes, with your husband's. In ancient times, there would be little say over where you moved and what your place looked like. However, today, window size and countertop material, and ceiling height, and depth of guest bathroom sink, and distance between the refrigerator and the toilet are all contention points between couples.
There is a good chance you may not agree with the things your husband likes about potential homes. And vice-versa. One party will need to have the final say since the divorce rate still says that compromise remains as mythical as the unicorn. Well, I still haven't seen one.
Who will take charge? In the past I have suggested rock-paper-scissors. Unfortunately, based on several first hand anecdotes, this method of settlement left the victor with an inferiority complex due to limited physical exertion. Jousting proved fatal, and sudoku battles were just too nerdy. So, get your pillows ready. Assuming your husband is most likely the larger of the two, you shall have the added benefit of warring from atop the mattress while he remains at floor level, and you can stuff your pillowcase with spoiled produce.
Good luck, and remember...respect the winner, and finding a house together will be that much easier.
Go to http://www.NAEBA.org. You'll be glad you did.
I would recommend you speak to your family, friends, and co-workers for a referral to a Realtor in your area. You should interview them so you know they are familiar with the types of properties/area, etc. you are considering. If you are looking at distressed properties (short sales & foreclosures) make sure they are knowledgeable on those types of sales because as a buyer you will incur different expenses compared to a regular sale (you need an idea of additional expenses), process of distressed sales, wait time, etc..
Your agent should also sit down with you to get a better understanding of what your plans are and be able to guide you through the whole buying process.....inspections, contingencies, professionals they use, etc..
Make sure you feel comfortable with who you choose to work with as this is usually the biggest purchase/investment you will make.
I hope this helps and good luck!
In this market, I would start with a full-time, experienced professional Realtor who will treat you as a person and not as a number. From there we can guide you step by step through the process and help you avoid pitfalls.
I am getting very selective about which banks we choose. Of course we examine who will give us a great deal (always compare interest rate, fees and points!), but there are many mortgage institutions who will be easier to work with than others. Just had a terrible time with the buyer's choice of Chase Bank for instance. They were so difficult to work with, the buyers almost pulled out of the purchase.
Being a former Real Estate trainer with 20 years of experience, I make the process smooth. Moreso, I work all over Illinois and bring a wealth of knowledge of what is going on. If you would like to interview me further to discuss what I can do for you, please email or call.
Broker Jerry Grodesky
I agree with both answer 1 & 2. The only thing that I always explain to my buyers is when you are getting pre-qualified make sure you have figured out your budget and know what you can afford for a monthly mortgage payment. This way when you talk to your lending source you can tell them you are comfortable with $xxx for your monthly payment and based on rates, type of loan ect. the lender will be able to tell you that would amount to $xxxxx of a purchase price. Then you will know you are looking at properties you will be comfortable with paying for. Sometimes what we "can afford" vs what we "are comfortable with" are two completely different figures.
That's my advice.
First thing to do (if you're not paying all cash) is to meet with a lender and get pre-qualified/pre-approved for a loan. This will let you know what you can afford so you know what properties to look at. Also, most sellers ask for a pre-qualification/pre-approval to be submitted with your offer.
Second thing to do is hire a Realtor familiar with the area you want to purchase in.