Commit Years-Be sure you can commit a few years to the buying process. If you cannot commit years then you should consider renting instead of buying because the process of buying can be costly & you may end up losing money in rising markets.
Saving- Save as much as possible for a down payment, even if you cannot give 20% of the total home cost you can still qualify for a loan.
School District- Look for a home with good schools, even if you do not have children, to ensure your property retains good market value.
Pre-Approval- Based on your income, debit & credit history, pre-approval will tell you what kind of home you can qualify for so your search is narrowed to the correct types homes (this is different than pre-qualification which is based on a review of your finances)
Inspection- While a home inspection will be required for the sale to go through it is a good idea to hire your own inspector with experience to point out specific potential problems.
Professional Help- Even though you can find most home listings online, a professional agent will ensure you get exactly what you are looking for with expertise in the home buying process.
Credit- Mortgage companies run credit checks to determine if you qualify to loan money for properties purchases. Be sure to print out your credit report (freeannualcreditreport.com is a great resource) and make sure your credit information is up to date and free of bad reports.
Affordability- When searching for a home start for a home no higher than two & a half times your annual salary. You can can fine mortgage calculators online to help you decide your range.
Right Choice- Consider all your payment choices such as paying for additional points, a portion of what you pay in closing costs, in exchange for lower interest rates. The longer you are planning to stay in your home determines if it is better to buy the points.
Homework- Your first bid should be calculated and based on sales trends in the area, a professional real estate agent can help you do this.