The early stages of looking for a new home are exciting.  You haven’t really committed to buying, but begin to look at what’s around.  It’s fun to window shop and see what’s really out there without pulling any money out of your wallet.

People happily jump into the “fun” aspects of looking for a home and tend to avoid the practical steps they need to take until it’s actually time to buy.

These are the 5 “fun” things most people do as they begin their real estate journey, and the 3 practical things they be should be focusing on instead (or as well).

Most people…

(1) Drive by homes in areas they love and imagine themselves living there

It’s fun to play what if…that’s why people play the lottery.

(2) Look up the prices of homes in their coveted area

It never hurts to know what places are being listed at in the area(s) you’ll be looking, so people begin searching for the price tag whenever they see a “For Sale” sign.

(3) Set up a Pinterest Board with decoration ideas

This one really is putting the horse before the cart, but it doesn’t cost anything to organize your decor ideas and wish list.

(4) Wander into an open house, or 4

Going to an open house can be an exciting way to get a feel for what’s coming, who knows what you’ll see or discover on that Sunday afternoon.  Worst case scenario, you might get to eat some warm cookies while you look.

(5) Keep a daily tab on real estate listing sites, like

You know your hunt has evolved once you’re regularly spending time on listing sites to see what is being posted daily, just so you don’t miss that golden opportunity.

Everyone Really Should be…

(1) Checking their credit scores

A solid credit score is very important to securing a great rate.  Check it, look for any errors and see what you can do to improve it.  To learn more about credit scores click here

(2) Connect with a mortgage broker

A lot of people wait until they see the home they want to make an offer on before they secure their financing, this puts them at a disadvantage in terms of budgeting and making a realistic offer.  A mortgage broker can help you set your home price ceiling and figure out how much you’ll be paying each and every month once you buy.

(3) Find a real estate agent

A good real estate agent will show clients great places and advocate for them when making an offer.  Finding the right agent before you stumbling upon a dream home can save you money and time.  To find out more about selecting the right agent for you, click here.