Warning... Your browser is currently not setup to allow scripting. This website requires the use of scripting to deliver its dynamic content. Please click here for instructions on how to do this.

Let your agent know what you expect.

It's up to you to tell your agent what you want and how you want to be involved in the home search process. Some buyers prefer their agents to handpick properties for their consideration; others want to receive the hotsheets on a daily basis so they can comb through the new listings themselves. You should listen to your Realtor's advice, but always remember that you're the boss. And speaking of bosses, it's a good idea for ALL decision-makers to visit the properties your Realtor shows you.

Identify suitable neighborhoods.

If it's not located in a neighborhood you like, your new house will never feel like home no matter how nice it is. There are several factors that go into making a "good" neighborhood for most people. It should be safe, close to things that are important to you, and should offer the services you depend on, such as healthcare and convenient shopping. Ambiance and curb appeal may be particularly important to you. Whatever your criteria, once you have a better idea of the areas you are interested in, find out as much as you can about each area's demographics, crime rate, schools, traffic, etc. Check out the county and state records for this information, or you can use Yahoo!'s "Get Local" online service. You can even try the local Chambers of Commerce, but bear in mind that they are in the business of attracting new residents to their neighborhood.

Price your home realistically.

Sales statistics show that properties that are initially priced too high eventually sell for less than properties that were correctly priced in the first place. Also, over-priced houses can take months or even years to sell, while properly priced houses usually sell in a matter of weeks or even days. When selecting your agent, make sure that each Realtor you interview presents a CMA (or Comparative Market Analysis) that shows what he or she thinks your house is worth. The average or median price will likely be very close to your home's true market value.