How to Find a Home to Buy

Finding the right home to buy can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. Even when you see a lot of homes listed, it doesn’t mean any of them are a good fit. Knowing how to find a home to buy using the right steps is important.

Use these steps when you’re ready to buy a home.

What to Look for when Viewing a House

Once you find homes to view, you should have a short checklist of what to look at right away so you know if you should continue looking at it or walk away:

Is the home structurally sound?

Is there a damp smell to the home?


Is there water in the basement?


Does it have adequate bedrooms and/or enough living space?


Are there cracks in the wall or other obvious defects?

If these ‘issues’ check out, then it’s likely a home you can keep on your short list of homes to consider.

Knowing how much to Offer

Before you place an offer, do your research. Just because the seller asks for a certain amount doesn’t mean bid that amount.


If you work with a real estate agent, he/she will know the average value in the area. This helps you determine the ballpark offer. Bidding more than the area’s average value will fall apart in financing because banks won’t lend more than the home’s value.

Consider other factors too.
Is the home in better or worse condition than homes in the area? Does it have special features? Does it need repairs?
These factors will help you tailor your bid.

What to Include in your Offer

A real estate offer is more than a price. You also include other terms, such as the closing date, what the seller will include in the home (window treatments, furniture, etc.), financing terms, escrow deposit amount, and any contingencies.

Contingencies are ways out of the contract if certain conditions aren’t met. For example, a home sale contingency makes the purchase of the home contingent on you selling your existing home and an appraisal contingency makes the purchase contingent on the appraised value. If it’s not high enough, you can back out of the purchase.

How to Negotiate the Purchase Price

When you negotiate the purchase price, think about what means the most to you. Is it the price or the conditions of the sale? Let your real estate agent know what’s negotiable and what’s not. Don’t bid your maximum price right away. Most sellers counteroffer, so leave room for some back and forth if you want the home.

Young couple with laptop in the carpenter workroom.

Bottom Line

Take your time finding the right home. Real estate is one of the largest investments you’ll make in your lifetime. Make sure the home fits your family’s needs now and in the future, it’s the right price, and the conditions of the sale meet your needs.

Even though it’s a tough market with a lot of competition doesn’t mean you should give in – the right home is out there for you.