As a buyer, it usually costs nothing to hire a real estate professional to help you find and purchase a home --
your Realtor will likely get a portion of the commission the seller pays to his Realtor.
When choosing an agent, get referrals from friends, relatives, and co-workers, and then interview as many agents as possible.
Pick an agent that works in the neighborhoods you're interested in.
Listen to your agent, but make your own decision.
This is generally sound advice unless you live in an extremely hot market and your Realtor is sure you'll be able to sell your home quickly.
Timing is crucial, so start working with your agent to find a new home as soon as yours is listed.
With a little bit of luck, the day you accept an offer on your home, you'll be able to make an offer on a new home and close both deals on the same day.
At worst, you may have to live in a rental for a couple of months, but most people agree that moving twice is preferable to being stuck with two mortgage payments!
That means determining how much money you can raise for your down payment and how much you can afford to pay on a monthly basis.
Go to a lender to find out the size of mortgage you qualify for and get pre-approved.
Better yet, use a mortgage broker to find you the best mortgage rate possible.
When calculating the costs of home ownership, remember to plan for homeowner's insurance, property taxes, private mortgage insurance
(if required), utilities, repairs, and maintenance.