Once you know what you are looking for, the next consideration is deciding where to look. A number of online resources can help narrow the search to a few manageable areas. Once that has been worked out, you can see about getting a real estate agent to assist with check places out.
As a rule, Agents tend to specialize in specific geographic areas. If you are looking at different counties, you will also be working with different agents. This is important, because once you have found a place, there are any number of laws and regulations that come into play. As such, the agent, in addition to being a tour guide, will serve as a specialized paralegal as well. As part of the licensing process, Real Estate agents are required to demonstrate a working knowledge of real estate law, both state and federal. And the good ones will be conversant with County and Municipal requirements as well. Important when preparing an "Offer to Buy" to be submitted to the seller of the home you want to live in.
Before the Search Begins: A Checklist
- Check your Credit History - A low credit rating will likely preclude any hope of getting a mortgage.
- Get Pre-approved for a mortgage - This will help facilitate getting through the Escrow process once the house has been located.
- Deciding which agencies you want to use, and getting an Agent that you can work with.
Sequence of events upon finding the place
- The "Offer to Buy" is submitted
- If the offer is accepted, Escrow" is initiated. Otherwise skip the following and return to searching
- Title Company is selected and the down payment is deposited in trust with the Title Company
- The following should be happening at the same time:
- Getting the actual Mortgage
- Inspecting the house in greater depth. At the very least the following should be done:
- General House Inspection
- Pest Inspection
Escrow periods can range from 30-60 days, but when the period is over, everything needs to be done, otherwise the deal is off. Assuming there are no deal breakers, when escrow clears that new house is now your home.
Go here to get a free semi-custom guide on buying your own home. http://www.homebuyersguide.com/index.cfm
Real Estate Listings from the MLS
- Ziprealty.com - Registration is optional and will result in being provisionally assigned and agent. While they will help sellers to sell their home, they are predominantly a buyers real estate agency. Overwhelmingly, the homes being shown are being sold by other real estate companies. Don't register unless you intend to use their services to actually look at the properties.
- Trulia.com - Useful resource of listings and information. Frequently considered to be one of the more useful info sites.
- Realtor.com - One of the original MLS listing sites.
- Homes.com - Another of the original MLS listing sites.
- http://www.mls.ca/splash.aspx - Provides MLS listings for Canada. Also provides information for how the process works in Canada