First-Time Buyers - Ready to Start Looking

If you’ve found a good loan officer and been pre-approved for the best loan option for your needs, your just about ready to actually start looking at houses. I know that you’ve already been looking on line at listings and that’s OK. Maybe that’s helped you get a little more realistic about what you’ve going to find out in the market.

There’s one more thing to do before you jump in your car and head out to meet your Realtor® at some houses. Download this home buyers comparison list from one of my real estate web sites. It’s just a quick way for you to take notes as you visit homes and will allow you to compare them later. After visiting about three houses they will all start to run together in your mind unless you take notes on each one.



I also advise my clients to do drive-byes before asking your Realtor to show you the houses. MLS listings don’t show the neighborhood settings of the houses and the pictures may not present a valid picture of the home’s landscaping and curb appeal.

Many times a drive bye will eliminate and house and save you time later. It also gives you some feel for things like closeness of shopping and time to get to work from the location. You can also get some feel for the condition of the house, which, again may not show up in the MLS pictures. Things like a roof that needs replacement or paint that needs attention seldom show up in the MLS pictures.

Get a good mobile real estate app on your smartphone, if you don’t already have one. It can be frustrating to discover that there was a good house for sale one block away from where you were and you didn’t know about it.  If you are in Michigan, Real Estate One has a good mobile app that you can find on the app store under Michigan Real Estate Search or you can get the app. Both are good, interactive apps that will show you what’s for sale around you as you drive through neighborhoods. You can set the diameter of the search around you to show just the immediate area of a wider area. Both are kept more up to date than some other apps. These apps have lots of good information about the homes and the neighborhoods.



So, start your search. I know that you probably already have been searching on line. You will be better off using the Real Estate One search at for Michigan or in other states, again due to the fact that these search site are updated with the latest MLS inputs several times a day, verses some of the national sites that may only be updated once a day, if that often. It can be frustrating for you and your agent if you keep giving him/her bad, out-of-date listings to look up for you, based upon some outdated web site. Many of those sites also don’t have the correct MLS numbers listed, so that adds to the frustration of your Realtor as he/she tries to find them to make an appointment.

Also make sure that study the MLS listing to eliminate homes that just don’t meet your criteria. It wastes everybody’s time when you get to a home and then “discover” that it doesn’t have a required feature such as a garage or a fenced yard. Those features are all listed in the MLS listing. Hopefully you have given your agent enough detail about what you want that he/she has customized the search to eliminate homes that don’t fit; but, that is not always the case. Do what I call a “bench walk through” before you schedule the real walk through. Doing a drive bye before requesting a visit will also help eliminate these cases.


Now that you’ve started seriously looking for a new home there are two traits that you will need to call upon, in order to be successful - patience and perseverance. Especially in today’s “tight” market, were there is a lack of inventory of homes for sale, it may take a while to find the right one.  Many first-time home buyers get frustrated by the time it might take to find the right home. It is out there. It may not be exactly as you envisioned it or in exactly the place that you had hoped; but, your new home is out there and you will find it. Meet with your Realtor an keep adjusting your search criteria to take into account what you’ve learned during the search.

Norm Werner is a Realtor® working for Real Estate One in Milford, Michigan. Norms helps people buy and sell houses in Southeastern Michigan, in Oakland, Livingston and Macomb Counties You can contact Norm about finding a new home or about getting a Market Analysis for your current home by texting  or calling him at 248-763-2497 or click here to go to his web site and fill out Help Form for buyers and sellers.

To see all of the post that have been made to this series of posts go to the post series index.

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