House hunting can be a lot of work or it can be easy.  While there is no guarantee that you will find a house that meets all of your needs in a few days of looking with some preparation you can shorten the time searching and certainly reduce much of the stress.

1. Prepare.  Before looking at any homes take time to consider your finances and what you goals are.  As far as goals consider location, condition, and size of your new home.  Is the yard important?  If this is your first home you should take extra time considering all of these issues.  If you have owned a home before then you probably have strong feelings about each of these issues, this is the time to dig deep on what you really want.  You need to be fully prepared because when it comes time to decide on a home to buy – it probably wont meet all of your needs 100% so you will need to compramise and to know your what is important will help you through the process.

2. Talk with a real estate agent very early in the process.  This his helpful for 2 reasons.  First it is likely they can help you consider what your goals are and help you prioritize and research as needed.  Second is you need time to find the right real estate agent to work with – you need to be comfortable with the one you choose and make sure they are in it to help you and not just to make a quick sale.

3. After doing your research start looking at homes – either on the internet or in person.  Person is best but it does take some time.  With each home take notes about how that home compares to your list of needs.  It is likely that your understanding of your home will evolve during this process, which is good, your notes will let you do this and also be open to reconsidering homes even after you have ruled them out.  As you understand what is available and your needs become better understood a home your ruled out early in the process may actually be the best one for you.

4. Make sure you have all your finances in place even before you start looking for a home.  Get prequalified for a loan.  Arrange to have the down payment ready to place on the home.  Fix any credit issues  you may have.  Ensure  you have carefully considered your budget and what you can afford to pay.  You can do all this ahead of time and if you do there will a few less suprises and less stress when you go to make an offer on a home and close.

5. Dont talk yourself into a home.  Dont fall in love with a home.  The sellers work hard to get you to fall in love with a home. Try really hard not to.  You are better off keeping a professional perspective on home shopping, carefully comparing each home you see with your list of requirements to ensure that you do find a house that is perfect for you.