After you’ve scoured the Internet looking at homes online, do yourself a favor and hire a professional Realtor that is familiar with the area you’re looking to purchase in. Show them you’re loyal and serious. Make sure they have current copy of your pre-approval letter from your lender, and sign a contract with the agent to find you a home and negotiate on your behalf. Laws vary from state to state with regards to who’s is representing who during a transaction so it’s important that you know what’s going on. Making sure that an agent is representing you is often called a Buyer Agency Agreement or a Buyer/Broker Agreement. With your permission, they will represent your interests through the entire process and not the sellers.
By the way, obtaining a pre-approval letter can usually be done at any bank or (lender) you choose but often times, professional Realtors have a few business associates on hand that come especially recommended and provide a top-tier level of service. They insist on making sure all of the behind-the-scenes work is handled swiftly and carefully on your behalf. You don’t want any surprises, at any point along the way during your home purchasing process. An agent comes in very handy at this point!