What came first the chicken or the egg? That question is very debatable as is the Home Buying question Where to Start? There are lots of options for today's home buyers.
* You can definitely search for homes for sale on various websites available, including mine
* You can visit open houses on the weekends
* You can find a Realtor to show you homes
Those options all work fine if you will be paying cash but if not... where to start when home buying is with a lender!
As with a Realtor, you'll want to choose one you can trust not just one that lures you in with the lowest interest rates. If possible a local lender is best but at the very least choose one that you can communicate with and is working with you directly. I'm not a fan of online lenders!
You may find out you have to clear up a few things on your credit in order to qualify. You may find out that you will qualify but only for an FHA loan. You may find out that you need to save a little more for your down payment. These are things you and your Realtor will need to know when searching for a home. Once you've qualified through a lender all the above options are yours!
As a word of caution - don't fall in love with a home you can't afford! Your lender will be able to tell you what loan amount you'll qualify for and and based on your down payment, your purchase price range.
Below is a illustration from Vitek mortgage showing the loan process and where we as Realtors enter the picture.
If you need a referral for a lender, feel free to call or email me. When you are ready to buy, I would love to be your Realtor!