Once you have established a price range to look in you will need to figure out whether you want a single-family house, a multi-family house, or a condo. That is up to you but a couple of considerations are any future plans for children, desire and ability to maintain a property.
Next up, deciding which community you want to live in. Think about things like commuting to work, property taxes, access to shopping, proximity to family and friends, the school system. That will likely narrow the field to a couple of communities. Once you have narrowed the list of possible communities, go online and search to see what is available in your price range. You likely will be able to negotiate a final price a bit below the listing price, so anything within 10 -15% of your maximum price is worth considering. It is good to look at the online pictures to see if the house is empty (the seller is more likely to be negotiable in that case) and the listing usually indicates how long the house has been on the market (the longer the listing has been open the more flexible the seller is likely to be).
At this point it is worth meeting with someone at your bank. While you could apply online, the first time through the process it makes sense to talk with a Mortgage Officer or Branch Manager so they can pre-qualify you for a mortgage. Biddeford Savings has staff in every branch that can help – and they have the knowledge and time necessary to assist you. That pre-qualification will be handy in the next phase of your search. You can do a lot of research about banks online but be sure to compare loan terms carefully. A slightly lower loan rate that is accompanied by a requirement for costly Private Mortgage Insurance may not really be a better deal. At Biddeford Savings we service our mortgages, which means any time you have questions our staff here work with you. At many lenders your mortgage is serviced out of state, which can be challenging to deal with in some cases. Do your homework and ask your Banker lots of questions to be sure you understand your options and get the best mortgage for you.
Within a couple of weeks of the P&S getting signed you will get your mortgage approval, unless there was a problem. If you application is declined be sure you get a full explanation of why and some guidance about what you need to do so that you can get a mortgage approved in the future. Assuming you are approved, the approval will come with some conditions – satisfactory inspection and appraisal are quite common but there may be others. Pay attention to those conditions and work with your bank to get these open issues resolved in a timely manner.