1) Educate yourself! There are numerous online resources available to you, utilize them. A REALTOR will help educate you on the market and process but it is nice to actually know what they are talking about.
2) Hire a Buyer’s Agent! The listing agent represents the seller’s best interest; a Buyer’s agent will represent YOUR best interest. In the Raleigh, NC market, the seller pays the Buyer’s Agent commission so representation is FREE to you! It is best to hire an agent that you trust. A referral from a friend or family member is a good place to start.
3) Talk to a Mortgage Lender! It is very important to find out how much you can afford. This is based on your savings, credit, salary and your debt. Ask the mortgage lender about first time home buyer programs or grants. There are several loan programs available that are little to no money down.
Happy house hunting!