The first step in the house hunting process is to determine your budget. Once you establish a price range, you can use an online mortgage calculator like this one from USAA Bank, to see if you can comfortably afford the monthly payments. The second step is talking to a bank and applying for a mortgage pre-approval. Most real estate agents require you to have received a pre-approval before they will show you any homes. This way, they will not be wasting any time showing you homes out of your price range. Next, make sure to research what kind of rebate deals and special offers your bank or mortgage lender is offering. For example, USAA's MoversAdvantage program offers cash bonusesbased on the purchase price of the home if you use the programs to find a real estate agent and purchase a home.
I recommend starting your home search on your own online. It is helpful to check out the homes for sale on sites like Zillow.com and Trulia.com because they list the value and prices for the homes in the surrounding area as well as an estimate of the home's current value. This information can help you later to bargain a lower price for the home you are interested in or help you find a good deal! USAA's Home Circle also has a home search and an iPhone app that allows you to find homes, save searches, and upload photos! Lastly, websites like Ahrn.com and Militarybyowner.com will sometimes have home listings that are not available to the general public.
Some smaller items to research and be aware of, before falling in love with a home are:
My husband and I are in the process of buying our first home (EXCITING) and found a real estate agent through USAA's MoversAdvantage program, who we could not be happier with!
Please share some of the items that helped you in your home search that could assist another military spouse!
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