Everyone wants to time their home purchase “just right.” Ideally, the picture perfect “buyer’s market”; plenty of well-priced listings, low interest rates and a slow moving real estate market where the buyer has plenty of -me to decide on an offer. The reality is that the current market is a fast paced environment where the best homes move quickly and serious home buyers need to be prepared to act when they find the right home. Fortunately, starting your home search the right way is easy by following these simple steps:

1. Find a Lender and Get Pre-Approved – Know what you can afford before you start your search. By getting a pre-approval letter, you demonstrate to sellers that you are serious when you write your offer and it proves you can afford the home.

2. Research Neighborhoods – Each community will have their own personality and advantages; before you spend time looking at homes, choose the right area for your lifestyle and family needs.

3. Pick the Right Home Style – Learn about the various home styles available in your community. Do you want a single story? Large yard? Do you like older homes or historic style properties?

4. Make a List of Must Have and Like-to-Have – There is a difference! Make a list and be ready to compromise when appropriate by ranking the items.

5. Take Notes – Often a home buyer can see 6-7 homes in a single day; take notes and if possible, take pictures so you can remember the things you like, and don’t like, about the homes you see once you get home. In a fast paced real estate market, spending some time preparing for your home search will help you move quickly when you find the right home for you and your family.