How do I find a house to buy?

United States
February 18, 2010 12:10pm CST
Hi, I'm about to be a first time homebuyer. I hope! For those of you who own homes, how did you go about finding the home that you wanted to buy? Did you just let the Realtor make suggestions based on what you wanted? Did you browse their website to see homes for sale? Someone told me to use the MLS, but then someone else told me that MLS is old and I should use IDX instead? ( http://www.yourmlssearch.com/ ) Will the Realtors care if I'm searching for my oown home or is that part of their job? Am I allowed to use a different site to search than their brokerage's website? Looking for apartments was always easy but I'm feeling a little overwhelmed when it comes to looking for a house. Help!
2 people like this
6 responses
@23uday (2998)
• India
19 Feb 10
hi friend, You prefer a good house or good land to buy. You check the first before buying a house or land. Is this land occupied or not. See and check wheather waste land or govt land. When you buy a house or land register your house. I prefer the best is indiviual house or duplex house. have a good day.
19 Feb 10
I would advise you to look everywhere you can, Estate Agents and the Internet especially as you can find so many detailed descriptions of homes online now. Just have a good search and stop when you find ones suitable and then view them.
@tyke28 (4)
• United States
19 Feb 10
Hi, I am new to this site, but not new to buying houses. When you decide that you are ready to buy your first home, the very first thing to do is decide how much you are willing to spend before even looking at houses. Figure this out on a monthly basis for payments. If you start looking for houses before you have this figured out, chances are that you are going to bite off more than you can chew, eventually getting yourself into a financial predicament. When you have decided this on your own, go to the bank and sit down with your loan officer and make sure that he is on the same page as you are. Then you can go through the process of becoming pre-approved for a certain amount. After you have been pre-approved, let the shopping begin!!! This way you won't even tease yourself by looking at homes that are out of your price range.
@mslena75 (562)
• United States
19 Feb 10
Do not depend solely on a realtor to help you find a home. God bless the Internet!!! Do lots of searching on your own. The first decision you should make is what part of town you want to live in. If you have kids or want kids in the future, you should think long and hard about what school district you want to live in. "Regular folk" cannot access MLS listings. Usually only a realtor or perhaps a mortgage broker has access to that information. Right now there are houses for sale right and left...you may even see something you want cruising up and down the street!! If you do see a property you are interested in, go home and look it up on the county's appraisal site. Each county is different, but you still should be able to get some basic information. Where I live you can easily look up when the last time it was bought and sold, how many square feet of living area, number of bedrooms, additions, etc. A realtor generally gets around 7% of what you end up paying on the house (if I remember right, it's been a while since I bought a house). The mortgage broker will also get a percentage of the sale price. I would be more leery of the mortgage broker than the realtor! The realtor doesn't have a lot of control over the price, whereas the broker has more control over what you spend...not so much the selling price, but often they will try to get you approved for a loan bigger than what you can handle. (My husband used to be a broker and quit in disgust over some of the tactics they told him to use). When you are looking at a purchase price, keep in mind you will often have to fold in PMI (depending on down payment)as well as annual property taxes. Another good thing to do is research how much the utilities average for the property you want to buy. And a BIG THING...don't let the broker talk you into an adjustable rate mortgage!! (ARM) We got suckered into one and it did not end pretty! I would strongly advise you to TAKE YOUR TIME when looking and never feel pressured into something you don't truly love. If you do find one you like, make you sure you get a reputable home inspector to the inspection and a termite inspection as well. Good luck! It is a lot to digest, but can be rewarding if you make a good purchase. It really is a buyer's market right now with all of the foreclosures.
@jaiho2009 (39001)
• Philippines
18 Feb 10
You must know what you want first before asking or finding a realtor to find a house for you. Things to be considered is...what kind of place you like. What kind of house you want...modern or a bit of ancient looks. Something like that. Most of all..how much is your budget.
@JoyfulOne (6242)
• United States
18 Feb 10
Good for you! The last time I went to buy a house, I made a list of all the things that I wanted in a house: how many bedrooms, how many bathrooms (for me, 1 1/2 baths), 2 floors or ranch styling, etc. Then, I made a list of what areas I really wanted to live in, like how far is my max to drive to work, things like that. Also, know how much expense you can bear. I found that realitors sometimes want you to buy more house than can I could reasonably afford (they work on commission, so the more expensive a house they can sell, the more they get in their pocket.) One thing I did do when I found a house I was interested in was to ask to see their utility bills: I live in a snowbelt area, so for me, it's what does it cost per month to heat, and at what temperature did they keep the heat at? What's the electricity cost? What do they pay for their land taxes? And if you are moving to a city, are there municipal taxes or fees too?! It is overwhelming, but you are protecting yourself from some potential surprises just by asking a lot of questions beforehand. Even though the realtors job is to find you houses that are what you are looking for, I think it still pays to keep searching on your own. If you find a house that's listed by a whole different realty, then they may share the commission fee (if I understand that right.) Definitely search other brokerages websites, you might find exactly what you're looking for, and where you're looking for it, and at a price you like. Also, have you pre-qualified with your bank yet? By doing that you will know exactly what they're willing to lend you when you do find that house you love. Just a little side note about area. Where I live at is in the corner of 3 different counties. I looked at a house in one county that was the size and all that I wanted, even in my price range. It was on a small lot, maybe an acre or less. Then I started looking across the county line. Bingo. I got exactly the same style & size house, priced the same, yet the land taxes were half what the other house was. And on top of that, for the same exact price, it came with 87 acres of land, a barn for my horses, and didn't need remodeling like the other one. What I found was that different areas have different tax bases, and all kinds of other stuff that's different. When you're looking in an area, go to that county's auditors office (online) to find out what their tax base is.