Online real estate websites can help you see what houses are currently for sale, but to stay on top of all brand-new listings, your real estate agent will need to set up an automated email through the local multiple listing services, so you can get notified every time when a new matching listing pops up. Tracking new listings can give you an advantage over other buyers by allowing you to schedule showings right away and eventually make an offer before another buyer even sees the listing.

Figuring out your financial situation may not be fun, but it sure is essential. In fact, financing is the first step to buying a home. Real estate experts agree that before you even begin your home search, you should find out how much you can afford.

In most cases, in order to buy a house, you need to get pre-approved for a home loan, which requires meeting with a mortgage lender and providing a good amount of paperwork. Lenders don’t just hand out loans to everyone, which means they’ll need to review your financial history and determine how much money they’re willing to give you. Hochfelder recommends getting at least three quotes from different lenders. This way you can see what your options are, and find the loan that works the best for you. You’re entitled to explore your options, and meeting with just one mortgage lender can turn into a costly mistake.