How Do I Begin My Search For My New Home?

You’ve done the work with a lender and are pre-approved to buy a home.  Where do you start?


There are many places you can begin.  The internet, newspaper, and real estate guides are all good starting points in order to see what is available. 

You will now want to put time and effort into finding a real estate agent to assist you in the home buying process.  Ask your friends and family whom they might recommend.  Check out the internet to see if there are testimonials for any of the real estate agencies in your area. You should ‘shop around’ for a REALTOR®, just as you will be ‘shopping around’ for a home!

You want an agent who is available, knowledgeable, and ready to serve you.  You will be spending a lot of time with your real estate agent, and so it is worth your effort to find one who you really relate well with and whom you feel will serve you best.

Here are some great beginning questions:

    1. What homes in this area do you have available for under $100,000 (put in your specific range here)?
    2. How does your agency work with potential buyers?
    3. Can you give me names and numbers of buyers who recommend you?
    4. What makes your agency different from any other?  What sets you apart from other agents?
    5. Are you a member of the state and national REALTOR Association?


Take notes during the calls.  Consider the responses, and how you felt about them.  If no agent was available, how long did you have to wait for a call to be returned?  Did the agent ask you if you were working with a lending institution to pre-qualify for a loan?  Was the agent easily able to give you names of buyers that would recommend her/him?  You will want to allow some time to review your notes and process your reaction to each call.  It is important that you find an agent with whom you ‘connect’ and trust to work hard for you. 

Author: Barb Smed, Broker – Northeast Iowa Realty – Waukon and Lansing, Iowa.  Email:

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