Now that you've been armed with a budget and a mortgage pre-approval from your lender, there are a few things that you must know before you begin hunting for that dream home. This is the time when communication between you and your agent is most critical since you must convey exactly what you want in a home to make your search go more efficiently. Here are some tips that can make you a smarter house hunter.

1. Wish List
Make a list of all the things you want in a new home such as the style of home, fireplace, number of bedrooms and baths, breakfast nook, garage size, etc. Then prioritize them from must haves to can live without. Your agent needs to know what’s most important to you to save on time. Keep in mind that there is no perfect home. Let me repeat that. There is no perfect home! Most often one home will not have everything that you desire, therefore, some features of lesser importance may be sacrificed to broaden your search options. Your agent will then provide you with a list of houses based upon those features near and dear to your heart.

2. Document Each House
Take plenty of good notes on both the things you liked and disliked about each home. Over time the homes will start to run together and you could find yourself dazed and confused and wasting time. Taking photos (with prior approval from the owner if occupied) is also a good idea. When you find a house (or houses) you really like, it's a good idea to walk-through several times and at different times of the day. You may realize on your second visit that the room sizes are in fact smaller than they first appeared. Maybe the home had flaws that you didn't notice the first time.

3. Investigate the Neighborhood
For those houses that interest you the most do some investigative work on your own! Drive by the home and surrounding streets at different times of the day and on weekends. You may find the area a little less appealing when the natives are out and about. For example, the house next door may be the neighborhood hangout for the local teens. The neighbors behind you may have a dog that barks all day every day! Are there schools very nearby? A school on the next block will create a lot of traffic on your block. These could present annoying situations for you.

4. Know What to Look For
* Are there cracks in the walls or ceilings, uneven flooring? This could be a sign that the house
is shifting downward.
* Are there moisture problems, water marks on ceilings, walls, or around windows, mold or mildew odor?
Fresh paint could be an attempt to mask these issues that could be costly to repair.
* Kitchens and bathrooms are the most expensive areas to remodel so be especially thorough in
checking out fixtures, plumbing, and tiles.
* Doors and windows that don't easily open and close, missing window screens?
* Outdated lighting and plumbing fixtures could mean outdated wiring and plumbing systems.
* The proximity of the master bedroom to other bedrooms could be important to those buyers with
small children.
* Know the measurements of your furniture and appliances, will they fit in their spaces properly?
* Are there any major cracks in the sidewalk, driveway and porches as these repairs could prove costly.
This could also create leakage issues into the basement depending upon location.
* Are there trees in the neighbors yard that could prove to be a hazard for you?
* Do the roof shingles look tattered and worn and is the roof sagging? A new roof is also costly.
* Are the gutters rusted and leaking?

These are just a few things to look for as you view the home. Once you've chosen a home to purchase we highly recommend that you pay for a home inspection which will provide you with the details of the faults and potential problems of the home. For more details on house hunting visit

Author's Bio: 

Christopher Shaw is a seasoned Real Estate Investor, with over 12 years of experience and has a passion for working with First Time Home Buyers, Mr Shaw has an ambitious goal of helping 1000 new First Time Buyers become home owners of the next 36 months. In addition to the 1000 new home owners he expects to create over the next 36 months wants to leverage each transaction to adopt up to 1000 families through Volunteers of America's Adopt a family Program.