You’ve saved for a down payment, and now you’re so close to owning your first home. While exciting, home shopping can also be overwhelming. Buying a home is probably one of, if not the, biggest financial transaction you’ll ever make. Follow these tips to reduce the stress of home shopping!

  1. Talk to a Mortgage Lender
  2. Many first-time buyers want to jump right into shopping and talk to a real estate agent. However, it’s important before you start shopping to see what kind of mortgage you qualify for. By getting pre-approved for a mortgage, you can save your time, and the real estate agent’s time by only looking at houses you can actually buy. In fact, most real estate agents require that you get pre-approved before you start shopping.

    It’s also important not to buy a house you can’t afford. Your mortgage lender may tell you the maximum price you qualify for, but that doesn’t mean you should necessarily buy that house. Take a close look at what you will be paying each month to determine what is really realistic for you, and don’t let anyone convince you to overspend on a house you can’t really afford. It will only lead to trouble down the road.

  3. Budget
  4. There are many things to take into account when budgeting for a home, many more than just the down payment. Other things to consider when budgeting include:

    • Homeowner’s insurance: Talk to an insurance agent to find out about estimates.
    • Property tax numbers: Should be available online as part of public record.

    A mortgage calculator is not a reliable method of figuring out what you will be paying. You need to figure in that payment, as well as taxes, interest, and insurance.

  5. Research, Research, Research
  6. Buying a home is a huge purchase and you can never be too prepared. In the years leading up to your purchase, pay close attention to real estate. Educating yourself about real estate means you may be able to start to spot trends, leading you to make smart decisions when it comes to buying your first home.

    Getting a mortgage can also be complicated. Make sure you gain experience in reading legal documents, so that once you get your mortgage, you understand exactly what you are signing up for.

    Buying a home doesn’t need to be stressful or frustrating. Prepare, budget properly, and manage your expectations so that when the time comes to buy, you’ll be ready.