If possible, take photographs of each house: the outside, the major rooms, the yard, and extra features that you like or ones you see as potential problems. And don’t hesitate to return for a second look. Use the HUD Home Scorecard to organize your photos and notes for each house.

There isn’t a set number of houses you should see before you decide. Visit as many as it takes to find the one you want. On average, homebuyers see 15 houses before choosing one. Just be sure to communicate often with your real estate agent about everything you’re looking for. It will help avoid wasting your time.

Before you start shopping for a home, you need to know what kind of home to shop for. To determine that , of course, you’ve got to figure out how much you can afford to pay each month.

Fortunately, there’s a pretty simple formula for coming up with this number. It’s the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) formula that many mortgage lenders use. The FHA has found that most people can afford to budget 29% of their gross monthly income to housing expenses, depending on total debt. Buyers with no debt can budget as much as 41% of monthly income to housing.

Once you have figured out what kind of home are looking for, the next thing to do is to search for the best possible deal. Although this is the toughest part of the whole home buying process, doing your homework certainly does help. There are two ways of doing this. Searching on your own or by hiring a real estate agent and letting them do the hard work for you! Leverage their experience!

In case you are looking to do it yourself, here are a few tips that would certainly help.

  • Research, Research and Research!

The easiest way to do this is the Internet! The best way to find what you should expect for your hard earned money is to surf all the real estate sites and see what is available in your price range! Make a Short list of all the houses that meet most of your (written down) requirements.

  • Searching Tip

Searching for real estate over the net is so much easier than browsing a newspaper because you can key in your personal search criteria and don’t have to be bothered with the vast number of listings that aren’t for you. Internet real estate sites offer customized search options that allow you to zero in on your key requirements.

Make appointments to look at all the short listed houses

Make sure that you visit each and every house short listed. And don’t shy away from taking as many inspections as you want.