Hi Sharon, step one should be getting pre-approved. Everyone has different ideas of what they can and cannot afford, only after conferring with a mortgage professional and getting a free pre-approval should you start looking. Many people look in a price range they can't afford, and then are dissapointed at what is in their actual price range. Also you cannot submit an offer without a pre-approval, you don't want to find your dream home and miss out because you're not pre-approved. After you get pre-approved get a buyer's agent to work with you. There are two things I would recommend, first is don't sign an exclusive agreement with any agent. Some agents won't work with you if you don't sign, but there are many that will. If you sign the exclusive agreement you are bound to that agent for whatever time period is stipulated, so if you find that you don't like the agent you'll have little to no recourse. Second, don't sign an agreement guaranteeing the buyer's agent a certain percentage. Make sure they will take whatever the seller is offering as their whole commission, or else you'll have to make up the difference. If you follow my advice you should have a good experience. A buyer's agent will be working for you and protecting your interests, without costing you a dime; the best of both worlds. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questiond or concerns. Good luck!
Tom Brady SFR, e-PRO, SRES, GREEN, BPOR