If you are in the market to buy a new home, do your homework, be patient and ask the right questions.
Kevin Breen Jr. with Caldwell Banker Elite in the Fredericksburg area suggests securing a financial pre-approval before you even look. He says it can be a let down and waste of time to get you heart set on something you can't afford. At the same time, he says many people might get approved to buy a home that has more space than they need or higher energy and mortgage costs that they can afford.
Do some on-line research, consider taking a class and always ask about getting a buyer's agent. Breen says you wouldn't go to court without a lawyer, so don't make the biggest transaction of your life alone. Many of them are free and can help you navigate through what can be a long and complex process. They will also help you ask the tough questions like; how energy efficient are the windows and how much life is left on the hot water heater or major appliances. If you do fly solo, a home inspection is a must to make sure you know all the important details.
Keeping an open mind is also smart. If you find a house you like with a poor design, that could be a good thing. Breen says if you love the space, yard and price, but hate the bright green carpet and red walls, you get an edge. If you are willing to see beyond the minimal cost to change it and someone else is grossed out enough to turn away, your odds of landing the deal are better.
Also, never fall in love with one house. Sometimes your offer may get rejected by the seller and right now in this area, there are more buyers than houses.