1. Get "Pre-Approved", not "Pre-Qualified!"
Do you want to get the best property you can for the least amount of money? Then make sure you are in the strongest negotiation position possible. Price is only one element in the negotiations, and not necessarily the most important one. Often other terms, such as the strength of the buyer or the length of escrow, are critical to a seller. The pre-approval process takes anywhere from a few hours and a few weeks depending on your situation. It's VERY POWERFUL and a weapon I recommend all my clients have in their negotiation arsenal.
2. Sell Your Property first, Then Buy Your Next Home
If you have a home to sell, sell it before selecting your new home to buy! Contingency sales are not as strong as one that comes in with a ready, willing and able buyer.
3.Play the Game of Nines
Before house hunting, make a list of things you want in the new place make a list of things you don't want. You can use this list as a guide to rate each property that you see. When house hunting, keep in mind the difference between " STYLE AND SUBSTANCE".The Substance are things that cannot be changed such as the location, view, size of lot, school district, and floorplan. The STYLE represents easily changed surface finishes like carpet, wallpaper, color, and window coverings.Buy the house with good SUBSTANCE, because the STYLE can always be changed to match your tastes. I always recommend that you imagine each house as if it were vacant.
Consider each house on its underlying merits, not the seller's decorating skills.
4. Don't be Pushed Into Any House
Your Real Estate Broker/Agent should show you everything that meets your needs and wants. Do not make a decision on a house until you feel that you've seen enough to pick the best one.
5. Stop Calling Ads!!!
I want you to be very careful when reading ads. Remember that the person writing the ad is representing the seller and not you! The most important thing you can do is have someone on your side looking out for your best interests. Your own agent will critique the property with an eye towards how well it meets your needs and will point out any drawbacks you should know about. SO, whether you decide to work with me or not, pick a Broker you feel comfortable with and enlist the services of that agent as a buyer's broker. Then you become a client with all the rights, benefits, and privileges created by this agency relationship, and you are no longer just a shopper. Do you know how many houses were sold within a day or two? These "great buys" go to those people who are committed to working with one agent. When an agent hears of a great buy, who do you think he/she is going to call? REALTOR has a legal obligation to work hard for you, or someone who just called and said "keep your eyes open"? So, to get the best buy on a property, I always recommend that you hire your own agent and stick with her/him.