You can expect to spend a few days to a few months shopping for a home, depending on how well the available homes match your needs and expectations.
When visiting homes:
> Look beyond listing language
That "cozy" bungalow may be impossibly small. Pay attention to practical details such as square footage, average utility bills and annual property taxes.
> Think twice about fixer-uppers
If you are a first-time buyer, look carefully at properties that need work and think about what it will really cost. You may want to opt for a house that needs cosmetic fixes, not major remodeling.
> Take notes
Get a clipboard to hold paper copies of listings, and make your notes on each listing as you visit that house. That way you won't have to record basic data, such as number of bedrooms.
> Take a copy of Questions to Ask When You See the House.
Fill out a checklist when you talk to each listing agent and visit each home, then keep it with your listing information. You may also want to find out as much as you can about the sellers motivation, too.