1. Keep your credit clean. Run credit check on yourself. Pay off any high interest credit cards, this will make mortgage approval easier.
2. Become a pre-approved Buyer. Talk to a mortgage professional about how much you can afford and get pre-approved before you start looking. This gives you an edge when negotiating, especially in this hot market where multiple offers are common place.
3. Determine your priorities. Make a list of what you need, want and don't want in a home. Rate them 1 to 10. 10 being your "must have" 1 being "would be nice". This checklist will help you and your Realtor look at various properties objectively and save you invaluable time when looking at various listings.
4. Make yourself a home value expert. Research is half the battle. Investigate the areas and price ranges for the type of home you are looking for, familiarize yourself with local amenities, schools, property taxes and crime rates. Talk to people who live in the area.
5. Familiarize yourself with the contract. Speak to a real estate lawyer and review the Agreement of Purchase and Sale so you understand the exact terms and conditions of the contract so that you know what's included in the purchase from the seller and a reasonable closing time frame.
6. Remain cool and calculated with your decision. Your home purchase will likely be your single largest purchase. Don't get caught up in a bidding war if you are in a mutliple offer situation.
7. Make sure you get a home inspection. This is your opportunity to find out about any deficiencies, new roof, plumbing issues, electrical, etc. Any problems or potential problems within the home.
8. Make sure your finances are in order. A profession mortgage consultant will work with you to map out a path to financial freedom.
Buying your home is an adventure! You only be a first time home buyer once and with the right team of professional it will be an enjoyable experience.