Are you looking to buy a home? Following are 5 steps to take that will help make the process smoother.

Step 1. Find a Local Lender You Can Talk To in Person
Local lenders
understand your market and know of loan programs that might be beneficial to

Check with your lender on any local programs that might help with
closing costs or in other ways. Even though the media have pronounced the
100-percent-financing option dead, this is not always the case. Check it out for
yourself and then get preapproved for a loan so you know how much house you’re
able to buy.

Step 2. Be Specific in the Area You Want To

Educate yourself. Familiarize yourself with the neighborhoods you’re
interested in, the taxes and school districts. This not only helps you narrow
down your search when you need to move fast, but also helps you figure out
potential mortgage payments. Find a home in your desired neighborhoods.

Step 3.
Find an Agent Specializing in the Area You Want to Live

This will save
you time and effort. Once you’ve identified a real estate agent,
trust him or her to do the job. Agents who are thriving in this challenging
market have proven their worth. They have the resources and skills to help you
find your next home.

Step 4. Don’t Shy Away From Houses That Need Some

Just because a house needs some paint or
cosmetic fixes doesn’t mean it’s not a good buy. Most real estate agents have an
address book full of trusted businesses they work with to help you fix up your
new home. There’s an HUD program known as 203(k) that enables you to fold repair
money into a primary mortgage; ask a RE/MAX agent in your market about the

Step 5. Be Prepared To Act
Sometimes the first
home you see is the right one for you. Don’t discount it. Remember, good deals
still go fast. Take advantage of the electronic tools your real estate agent has
to offer. In many instances, real estate agents have access to better
information than what you can find in a standard Internet search.

The advice offered here comes from sales associates affiliated with
independently owned and operated RE/MAX offices and may not be applicable to all