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      In the market for a house?

      The demand for buying a house is increasing according to local realtors, but the supply of "for sale" houses isn't meeting the demand.

      Before looking at that pretty house with the white picket fence, talk to a banker and find out what kind of loan you can get.

      "Depending on your goals, down payment, credit amount, credit score, there's going to be different programs that are available to you. Not everyone fits into the same bucket," said Mike Mattila of River Valley Bank.

      Whether you are looking at a 15 or 30 year fixed mortgage, the national average rate remains below four percent.

      "They are still at historic lows. We have seen a little bit of increase in the past couple of weeks, but nothing substantial that would scare somebody from the market or prevent them from buying a house," Mattila said.

      Once you know how much you can get for a loan, find a realtor and look at places in your price range.

      When touring a house, check to see if the roof, windows, and plumbing need to be replaced. In the basement, look at the type of heating system installed. It's also a good idea to look in the attic for proper insulation and ventilation.

      "If it's a job or a remodel project that you can do yourself, you can save yourself a lot of money, but it is expensive to hire things like that out. So it helps to have a good background if you plan on buying a fixer upper," said Joe Capuana, State Wide real estate.

      Know how much space you are looking for inside and outside the house, and don't always settle for the first option.

      Before closing a deal on a house, it is a good idea to hire a home inspector. They will be able to see any issues you weren't able to identify.