Finding the right home can feel like a complicated process. However, if you know what you need from a home, you can narrow your search and spend more time looking at houses that make sense as a long-term investment. Once you decide what you are looking for from a property, you can work with your agent to find listings that match those criteria.
Your agent may first direct you toward his or her brokerage’s website. The site will have featured listings that you can browse through before deciding to take a look at homes in person. Your agent will also have access to the MLS listings, which may have properties listed that have not yet been released to the public. This could give you an opportunity to put an offer on a house before anyone else knows it’s available.
Another way to spot homes for sale is to look for ads in the paper or through social media that indicate an open house. This is usually the first step that a homeowner takes when trying to sell his or her property. Alternatively, if you notice signs for open houses of for sale by owner signs, those are both sure bets that the house is on the market.
If you see or hear about a property that you would like to look at, call your agent to schedule a showing as soon as possible. You can generally see a property anytime you like, and the owner is usually going to be at work or otherwise not there when you see the home.
How to Find the Right Home, homebuying.about.com