Take out your credit
card, go on-line, and buy your next home sight unseen! Sound
like a good idea to you? Maybe not.
Sure, there are
plenty of websites that introduce you to available homes.
It's possible to compare real estate agents, get a feel for
home prices in your area, and even take "virtual"
tours of some properties. Wow - impressive!
Is there enough
information on the web to cause you to take out your credit
card? Probably not. So . . . after all your surfing is done,
the first step when buying a home is still choosing an agent
to conduct your home search.
Be prepared to
meet with the agent before setting up appointments to see
homes. Explain your objectives, deadlines, and financial expectations.
Ask the agent to introduce you to a mortgage lender. You can
pre-qualify for a home loan improving your buying power once
you begin your search.
Let the agent know
about preferred neighborhoods, desired features and amenities,
and other factors that will influence your final decision.
The more the agent understands your preferences, the sooner
suitable properties will be identified.
Can the internet
play a role in locating the right home? Sure, but only as
a general tool to acquaint you with the local real estate
market. When you're really ready to make a purchase, contact
an agent first. The rest will be easy!