How to Find Real Estate Properties for Sale

Do you need a new home—right now? If you're not sure where to start the search, take a look at some tips for finding real estate properties for sale.

Hire a Real Estate Agent

Are you a first-time homebuyer? Before you try a do-it-yourself approach to house hunting, talk to a qualified real estate agent. The agent can help you to understand what you really want. What may seem like your dream home may really have flaws. The experience and expertise of an agent can help you to assess what you really want or need in your first home.

They can also help you search the MLS. The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) listings provide a unified way for agents and brokers to showcase and find properties for clients. While you can use an MLS yourself, an agent's knowledge of this type of tool can increase the efficiency of the search process.

Choose an agent who has experience working with first-time home buyers, takes the time to truly understand your financial limits, and has expertise in the area/community where you plan to purchase a property. A knowledgeable agent can help you to find your dream first home in a realistic price range. An experienced real estate agent may also have industry contacts who can provide information on future listings that will hit the market soon.

Attend Open Houses

Does your would-be future neighborhood fill with open house signs every weekend? While an agent can score you a private showing, an open house is still a valuable tool that buyers can use to browse listings. To make the most out of your open house visits, take the following steps:

  1. Make a plan. Plan your open house day route. Instead of wasting weeks or months visiting one home every Saturday or Sunday, try to fit as many in at one time as you can. Plot the open house points on a map (using your GPS) and create a location-based schedule.
  2. Meet and greet the agent. Even though you may have your own buyers agent, you still need to introduce yourself to the seller's agent. Come prepared with questions or ask the on-site agent for a tour of the property.
  3. Narrow down your options. Compare your home buying needs and price range with each listing before you go on an open house tour. Eliminate properties that don't match your criteria. This can save you time and energy during the search process.

Ask for additional information to take with you. Whether the seller's agent has a packet, brochure, or a listing sheet, print materials give you something to compare as you explore different properties in the area.