At this point, you will have gone over your parameters with your agent and secured your financing. Now comes the fun part, Step 3 ---finding your dream home.

Here are the best places to find homes for sale in Cleveland:

1. YOUR AGENT

2. The Internet

A real estate agent has access to real time data from the multiple listing service ( MLS ) and will be able to set you up on a home search based on your criteria. It is a proactive process as homes will get automatically emailed to you as they come on the market.

Some buyers also like to search popular national sites such as Realtor.com and Zillow. These sites are good as well, but just keep in mind that information found here is not as accurate as the MLS.

WHAT ABOUT BANK OWNED AND PRE-FORECLOSURES

Bank owned homes are always listed in the MLS and would be included in your search.

You may not know a certain listing is bank owned unless specifically stated in the property description. However, banks list their inventories with agents so you will not miss out on these types of homes.

Pre-foreclosures are a popular search item on some companies' sites. The reality though is that a pre-foreclosure simply means the owners are behind on their mortgage. In most cases the owners will take the necessary steps and the homes never get to the market.

If a home gets foreclosed on, it could take well over a year for the process to play out. In simplistic terms, these are not viable homes to consider.

I do know of people who knock on doors of people whose homes are in pre-foreclosure but wouldn't recommend it.

How would you like it if you were in financial distress and someone knocked on your door?  Let's just say you won't get greeted with a friendly smile.

 

HOW TO VIEW HOMES ON LINE

There is an art to efficiently screening the numerous homes that you will see.

1. Look at the Pictures

2. Skim Property Descriptions

3. Note Homes That Contain Your "Must Haves"

It shouldn't take too long to go through a list of homes and determine which ones are possibilities. A few words of advice:

If a home has few or no pictures, there may be a reason. Also, some homes look way better on line than they do in person. A listing agent's job is to make a home look as appealing as possible so be careful.

On the flip side, some homes look better in person. A good buyer's agent should be previewing homes on your behalf and would be able to bring these homes to your attention.

SCHEDULE SHOWINGS

Make an appointment with your agent to see homes. We recommend not seeing more than 6-8 homes at one time as they tend to all look alike after that.

Sometimes it takes 24-48 hours to schedule, so give your agent advance notice if possible.

When viewing the homes, your agent will point out special features of each home. We recommend that you take notes or pictures/video of the homes you like so you can remember them after your tour.

Don't be afraid to ask questions and get specific information that is important such as age of mechanicals, a list of updates, and a copy of the property disclosures.

You may also want to bring a tape measure with you to make sure specific pieces of furniture will fit in certain rooms.

The process of going out and looking at homes will continue until you find the right home.  A motivated buyer should be able to find a home in 60-90 days.