I have found that there are not as many homes available to use a USDA. You will find you have more options with a VA loan. But the USDA has a website that you can input the property address and it will tell you if it is eligible for a USDA loan. Find a good realtor adept at navigating you through the transaction smoothly. Just make sure that with either loan you are not buying a fixer upper home. Happy house hunting!
When I first began as an agent my first sale was to my ex-husband (go figure that out). Could not live with him but could sell him a home, second sale was to my boyfriend, then my ex-brother in-law, then my dad. I only sold to family at first as I was a little shy to get rolling. But my first outside leads were obtained by working the front desk answering phones. Then when I felt comfortable enough, I went door knocking and was successful at getting short sale listings. Eventually I had enough clients to get repeat business and referrals. Some farm with title companies, I do not. I choose not to farm but would highly recommend it. Just sold postcards work too. Good luck!
I have never asked any of my clients to sign a buyer's agreement. In my opinion it shows a lack of relationship and trust that you will buy. However, I notice there is extreme disloyalty towards realtors more so than any occupation I have ever been in. This lack of loyalty creates a rift between future clients and their realtor. When I first started out I ran the wheels off my car and wasted lots of gas until I started asking for clients to provide preapproval letters. So the preapproval request shows you are serious and have the means to buy. But if you want to buy in 6 months you should not look until then as homes sell fast and what you see now will more than likely be sold within a month or sometimes days. Happy house hunting and good luck
You do not need to pay for an appraisal, but I would recommend one. But your agent can determine values with the same sales comps that are used by appraisers. Also, HUD homes have already had appraisals to set the price of the home along with many Fannie Mae Home Path homes. Tax assessed values are set by county abs they are a pretty good gauge of the market value of homes.