We had made sure that the lease on our apartment was as short as possible (4 months.) when we signed it because 1) We had to sign the lease site unseen and had no desire to be stuck and 2) We really wanted to get on with our lives and buy a house.
I had hated dealing with Real Estate Agents when here for Spring Break. My view of them had not really changed. I found a way around them though. I found a real estate website that gave a map of the area of the house. If you looked at the HTML code it listed the address of the house. With that info I could punch it into webpages such as google maps to see satellite pictures and zillow to get an idea on the range of neighborhood values. We had no problem getting financing and then went to a buyers agent to sign up. They had us rate what we wanted in a house. We had some ideas but had never listed them, this is what we came up with after we got home.
1)price of house (School had wiped out most of our savings.)
2)sidewalks around house (not being able to go for walks at the apartment was driving me crazy)
3)low commute time (I had had enough of traffic when living in California.)
4)2 bedroom+ (Resale value, office space, future kids, we are pack-rats)
5)off street parking (I did not want to deal with alternate side parking or snow plows)
1)cooking sized kitchen (I missed being able to cook.)
2)convenient to city center/shopping (We don't want to live in the middle of nowhere.)
3)storage-garage or attic (kayaks, bikes, camping, snorkeling... I guess we are outdoors people)
4)walk to train (Driving into NYC is a pain.)
1)space to add on to house (Resale value.)
After crunching the numbers for what we still had to pay off, house fixing up funds, and income we decided to wait a few more months to make sure we would be able to swing everything. We could not be more glad we did. The market started sliding, then the prime mortgage scandal. Now the bottom has totally dropped out. I am glad we were cautious but it looks like apartment living for a while.