In February of 2012, we decided we'd not renew our lease in February of 2013, meaning we'd be homeless at the end of July 2013. After that decision, our house-hunting came to a pause, as there wasn't much for us to do for a long while. Over the summer of 2012, Billy received the recommendation for a realtor from one of his coworkers who lives in our targeted neighborhood. As it turns out, he lives right next door to a real estate agent who has lived her entire life in our targeted neighborhood, and he had nothing but positive things to say about her.
We happily tucked that name away for a few months while continuing to wait for our chance to actually do something with this home-buying process. We attended a few open houses over the summer (which prompted this), but beyond that, it was slow goings.
When I was training for my half-marathon and injured my back, I was pretty disappointed that my big fall "project" was potentially not going to happen, so I convinced Billy to meet with our prospective realtor and get the show on the road as much as we feasibly could, 10 months before our apartment lease ran out.
We scheduled a meeting with the recommended realtor and met with her on a Saturday afternoon in October. She walked us through the home-buying process in a decent amount of detail, answering any questions we had. She set us up with her agency's in-house financial guy, to get us pre-approved, which was nice because it finally felt like we had an action item to take care of. Finally, we agreed to get the show on the road in early 2013.
We were pre-approved within 48 hours of that initial meeting, and then we were back to the waiting game. As it turned out, our realtor wasn't kidding around when she said "early 2013" -- I got an email from her on New Year's Day suggesting we nail down some house criteria and start scoping out the market. We still had seven months until our lease ran out, but it felt so great to finally feel like I could look at sites like Trulia and Zillow and see homes that could potentially be ours, instead of seeing homes that, if they stayed on the market for a long enough period of time could maybe, possibly, be considered by us. It was game on, finally.