When you’ve found a home you’re interested in, you’ll want to learn as much as possible about it before putting in a deposit. Ask your agent how long the property has been on the market (or check that information at Zillow)—if it’s been on the market for months with no offers, it could be overpriced or it could be a slow market. You can find out if a home is fairly priced for the neighborhood using the P/R ratio.
Also, ask for copies of utility, insurance, and tax bills so you truly understand how much the home will cost (don’t forget homeowner association fees, if applicable). Look up the sales history of a home to find out how much it was previously purchased for and how long previous owners stayed in the property. These can offer some clues on the property’s history, but keep in mind that sometimes homes are sold at reduced prices for other reasons than low value.
Also, don’t just think of individual properties—neighborhood matters a great deal as well, if not more than the house itself. You can research neighborhoods from the comfort of your current pad. Be sure to look up school quality ratings, too, as they’re often an indicator of the quality of the neighborhood.