When buying a home it’s common to research locations, mortgages and taxes, but it’s mostly the stuff you miss when going through your first home buying process that you remember the most and wish you had known about beforehand.

First time homebuyers often overpay, overspend and plain and simple purchased homes they cannot afford.  Don’t be one of the many who is not informed or doesn’t ask the right questions.  Here are some simple tips to make your first home buying experience a pleasant one.

Get Pre-Approved First                    

It might be tempting to start searching for your dream home without being pre-approved, but what happens if you FIND the house you’ve been searching for and you aren’t prepared to put in a serious offer.

Sellers will take you more seriously if you have a letter from your lender stating what you’re pre-approved.

Work With an Experienced Agent

Don’t underestimate the value of working with an experienced agent. To find the best gent, make a short list of possibilities based on word-of-mouth recommendations. Then meet with them in person to get a feel for their personality and their knowledge of the neighborhoods.

Hire an Inspector

Hiring an inspector is not mandatory, but those who do will potentially save themselves a lot of grief and a ton of money down the road.  Often times professionals expose potential problems that cannot be seen by the average person.

Talk To the Neighbors

Talking with the neighbors can be a buyer’s best secret weapon.  You can avoid things like barking dogs and disorderly neighbors.

Plan to Own It for Several Years

Owning a home is thinking long-term, rather than short-term.  It is also one of the biggest financial undertakings most people make in their lives.  So, if you are thinking of buying a home to sell it quickly for a profit, think twice.  You are always at the mercy of the market, so it might be better to think long-term when buying your first home.

Size Matters

When buying your first home it’s important to buy as much house as you might need—but no more than that.  When deciding how big of a house you need, know that you would probably be happy with less, especially if there are rooms in the home that could become multi-purpose. An unfinished basement or an attic could be turned into an office, for example, instead of needing another bedroom; a den could become a nursery for a hypothetical child.

Borrow What You Need

Just because you’re approved for it doesn’t mean you should buy the most expensive house you can.  Keeping your loan amount lower will safeguard your family and ensure your financial security.

Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away

Avoid the emotional attachment that comes from looking at homes.  It’s important to see the home buying experience as a financial transaction.  AFTER you’ve signed all of the documents and have keys in hand you can think of the home as your home sweet home.