Venturing out to search for your first home is one of the most exciting times of your life!   Here are 5 great tips to get you started.

Start Searching for a Real Estate Professional:  Having an experienced, well-informed, trusted guide to help throughout this process is key.   Ask friends and family members for recommendations.    Read reviews on Zillow.  Interview prospective Realtors and have a list of questions prepared.  Buying (and selling) a home is an emotional process.   Find an agent who will listen and understand your wants and needs.

FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD:  Before you begin your search, think about what you can comfortably afford.  There are man unexpected expenses that can arise when you’re a homeowner.   How much of a down payment do you have?   Online mortgage calculators can be a good guide to estimating what your monthly payment will be.  Next, find a  trusted mortgage lender to obtain your pre-approval.  Once you have your budget in mind, begin your search.  

PICK YOUR NEIGHBORHOODS:  Location, location, location!  One of the key things I tell a new Buyer is you can always change the home, but not the location.   Where you live will be important, in terms of your happiness and your investment, more so than the home itself.   

CHOOSE YOUR MUSTS:   Sure, there are a lot of things we’d love to have in our dream home.   Before you start looking for your dream home, take an honest look at needs vs. wants; the nice-to-haves vs the must-haves.  Having a clear list of the must-haves will help you along during your home search.

SEARCH ONLINE:   Ask your Realtor to set you up to receive MLS emails for the towns and price points you are considering.   Zillow, Realtor.com, and the Real Estate Book online are also good options to view listings on your own.  

Lastly, have fun and enjoy the home shopping process.  Buying your first home is an exciting time.   Stay open minded, be flexible, and above all, patient in the home search process.   The journey will be well worth it once you’re happily settled in your very first home as a new homeowner.