Lisa Westerman - ReMax Professional Associates


Before you launch a home search, it helps to prepare for the property buying journey as much as possible. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to get ready to find your dream house.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prep for a home search.

1. Establish Homebuying Criteria

If you know you want to buy a home, it generally is a good idea to define your ideal residence as well. That way, you can streamline your house search.

Consider where you want to reside. For example, if you work in the city, you may want to focus on houses in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you plan to return to school, you may want to search for a home near top colleges and universities.

Think about what features you want in your ideal home, too. If you have always wanted to own a home that boasts a luxurious outdoor swimming pool, for instance, you can map out your home search accordingly. Or, if you want to purchase a residence that features a state-of-the-art kitchen, you can search for a home that offers this amenity.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

A mortgage typically is a must-have, regardless of where and when you search for a home. And if you enter the housing market with a mortgage at your disposal, you will know precisely how much you can spend on a residence.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can be simple. If you meet with banks and credit unions in your area, you can review your options and select a mortgage that complements your finances.

If you have concerns about home financing, don't hesitate to ask questions. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, diligent mortgage specialists who can respond to your home financing queries. As such, you can work with these specialists to gain the home financing insights you need to make the best-possible mortgage decision.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

As you get set to conduct a home search, there is no need to work alone. If you hire a real estate agent, you can collaborate with a homebuying expert who can take the guesswork out of finding and purchasing a house.

A real estate agent is happy to provide guidance throughout the homebuying journey. He or she can offer tips and recommendations to ensure you can find a terrific home at a price that matches your budget. Plus, a real estate agent will simplify the process of setting up home showings. Perhaps best of all, if you are uncertain about whether to submit an offer to purchase a home, a real estate agent is ready to provide insights to help you analyze all of your options.

Dedicate time and resources to prepare for the homebuying journey. By doing so, you can enter the housing market with the insights you need to succeed.


As a homebuyer, you'll want to do everything possible to guarantee a quick, seamless homebuying journey. Because if you're not careful, you may be forced to deal with a nightmare homebuying experience.

Ultimately, there are many ways to ensure that you can avoid a nightmare homebuying experience, such as:

1. Narrow Your Home Search

Although you know that you want to buy a home, it pays to consider exactly what you'd like to find in your ideal residence. By doing so, you can narrow your home search and avoid the homebuying nightmare of pursuing residences that fail to meet your expectations.

Think about which features are must-haves for your new home, as well as which features you can afford to live without.

For example, if you require a home that is close to your office, you can search for houses near your workplace. On the other hand, if you want to live in a small town, you can remove city residences from your home search.

Establish priorities as you search for your dream house – you'll be glad you did. If you separate your home must-haves from your wants, you can simplify your home search and move one step closer to finding your ideal residence.

2. Get Your Finances in Order

How much can you afford to spend on a house? Create a homebuying budget, and you can avoid the risk of browsing available residences that fall outside your price range.

To determine how much money you have available for a home purchase, it often helps to meet with local banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can provide details about a variety of mortgage options and help you select a mortgage that corresponds to your finances.

Also, you should check your credit report before you buy a home. You are entitled to a free annual copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Take advantage of this perk, and you can learn your credit score and take steps to improve it prior to purchasing a house.

3. Hire an Experienced Real Estate Agent

An experienced real estate agent understands both the homebuyer's and home seller's perspectives. As such, this housing market professional can help you analyze a home seller's point of view and negotiate the best price on any home, at any time.

Typically, an experienced real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your homebuying goals. This housing market professional then will map out a homebuying journey, one that helps you streamline the process of acquiring your ideal house.

Let's not forget about the assistance that an experienced real estate agent can deliver throughout the homebuying journey, either. A real estate agent can provide expert insights into the housing market and help you make informed decisions, thereby reducing the risk of a nightmare homebuying experience.

Take the guesswork out of buying a home – use the aforementioned tips, and you can minimize the risk of a nightmare homebuying experience.


Although you might have entered the housing market with a strategy to help you streamline your search for your dream home, it is important to remember that even the best-laid plan may need to be changed. And if you fail to discover your ideal residence after a comprehensive search, now may be a great time to revise your homebuying strategy.

Let's take a look at three tips to help you revamp your homebuying plan.

1. Consider Your Home Must-Haves and Wants

Creating a list of home must-haves and wants may be done at the start of a house search. Over time, however, this list may evolve. And if you update your list, you may be better equipped than ever before to reenter the real estate market with a fresh perspective.

Think about where you want to live in the foreseeable future too. Then, you can narrow your home search to specific cities and towns and accelerate the homebuying journey.

2. Review Your Budget

If you recently paid off your student loans or eliminated your credit cards, you may want to reassess your homebuying budget. That way, you can hone your house search and explore residences that fall within your up-to-date price range.

Of course, if you have yet to get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can still do so. Meet with banks and credit unions to learn about all of the mortgage options that are available. This will enable you to gain the insights you need to select a mortgage that matches your finances.

3. Learn About the Housing Market

The housing market may favor buyers or sellers. And if you have been searching for your dream home for several weeks or months, the market may have changed.

It does not take long for a buyer's market to become a seller's market, or vice-versa. As you consider your homebuying options, you should study the local real estate sector closely to determine whether the current housing market favors buyers or sellers.

Evaluating the prices of recently sold houses in a particular city or town usually is a good idea. This housing market data will enable you to find out whether sellers are receiving offers at or near their initial home asking prices.

You also should find out how long current residences in a particular city or town have been listed. If houses linger on the real estate market for an extended period of time, you may be operating in a market that favors buyers. Or, if homes are selling quickly, you may be operating in a seller's market.

Lastly, hiring a real estate agent often is helpful, particularly for homebuyers who are struggling to identify the perfect residence. A real estate agent can offer lots of tips as you conduct your search for your dream residence. Plus, if you need to revamp your homebuying strategy, a real estate agent will make it easy for you to do just that.


Looking to buy a house? Ultimately, you'll want to attend at least a few open houses in your city or town. By doing so, you'll be able to understand exactly what you'd like to find in your dream house.

Before you attend an open house, there are several factors to consider, and these include:

1. Your Homebuying Budget

With a budget in hand, you can narrow your search for the ideal home. That way, you can avoid the temptation to attend open houses for residences that fall outside your price range.

To establish a homebuying budget, take a look at your current financial situation. Then, consider your future expenses like those related to student loans or children and plan accordingly.

In addition, it never hurts to get pre-approved for a home loan. If you gain pre-approval, you can enter the housing market with a budget in hand and review a broad array of houses that match your budget.

2. Your Homebuying Checklist

If you're living to a warm-weather climate, you may want to own a home with a swimming pool. Or, if you plan to reside near the ocean, you may consider houses where you can dock your boat nearby.

Create a homebuying checklist before you visit open houses. This will allow you to streamline your home search and accelerate the homebuying journey.

Also, it may help to separate your homebuying checklist into "wants" and "must-haves." Although your dream house may not include all of your homebuying checklist "wants," you can use these categories to determine exactly what you'd like to find in your ideal residence.

3. Your Homebuying Timeline

Are you planning to move next week or in the next several weeks? Some homebuying journeys are faster than others, and you'll want to map out your property buying journey based on when you need to move.

For example, if you've accepted a new job in the city, you may need to move quickly to relocate. This may require you to act so you can get settled in a new home before you begin your new job.

Comparatively, if you're in no rush to relocate, you can take a wait-and-see approach to the housing market. And if you attend an open house and like what you see, then you can submit an offer to acquire a residence.

If you're unsure about how to approach open houses, there is no need to worry. In fact, many real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide to assist homebuyers.

A real estate agent can offer expert insights into a home before a homebuyer attends an open house. Plus, this housing market professional can provide honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations and will even negotiate with a home seller on a buyer's behalf.

Get ready for an open house – consider the aforementioned factors, and a homebuyer should have no trouble exploring a broad array of residences and finding one that he or she can enjoy for years to come.


Creating an offer to purchase a home may require several minutes, hours or days – it all depends on the buyer. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to accelerate the process of putting together a homebuying proposal that will get a seller's attention. These include:

1. Study the Housing Market Closely

When it comes to preparing an offer to purchase a house, there is no need to leave anything to chance. If you analyze the real estate market closely, you can gain the housing sector insights you need to craft a competitive homebuying proposal.

Take a look at the prices of recently sold houses in your area, along with how long these residences were available before they sold. With this information in hand, you can determine whether the current housing market favors buyers or sellers and craft your offer to purchase accordingly.

Analyze a house's age and condition as well. By doing so, you can account for the state of a house as you put together an offer to purchase.

2. Maintain Flexibility

Although you may be in a hurry to acquire your dream residence, a seller may need time to find a new place to live. As such, you should maintain flexibility as you craft your offer to purchase and be ready to accommodate a seller's requests.

Ultimately, it is important for a home sale agreement to meet the needs of both a buyer and seller. If you consider the seller's perspective as you create an offer to purchase, you may be better equipped than ever before to craft a homebuying proposal that works well for both you and a seller.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

Let's face it – creating an offer to purchase a house can be challenging, particularly for a buyer who is putting together a homebuying proposal for the first time. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available nationwide who can help you craft a competitive offer to purchase in no time at all.

A real estate agent is happy to provide you with homebuying insights you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. He or she can offer recommendations and suggestions as you prepare a homebuying proposal. Plus, a real estate agent can help you submit an offer to purchase and negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf.

Let's not forget about the support a real estate agent provides after you submit an offer to purchase, either. If your homebuying proposal is approved, a real estate agent will help you finalize your house purchase. Or, if your offer to purchase is rejected, a real estate agent will help you reenter the housing market so you can discover your dream house. In the event a seller counters your offer to purchase, a real estate agent can help you determine the best course of action, too.

Ready to submit an offer to purchase your ideal residence? Use the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble submitting a competitive homebuying proposal and acquiring your dream house.