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Buying a home can be incredibly nerve wracking! Whether it’s the first or the fourth time, it can be tempting to just go with the first house that looks good and falls in your price range. Here are 5 handy tips to make life easier while purchasing your home.

1. Track Your Expenses 

Be as honest as possible. It’s easy to underestimate how much we spend day to day if we don’t take the time to add it all up. To understand just how much of a financial impact owning a home will have, you will need to start tracking all expenses from bills to how you spend your “Rainy Day Fund”. It helps to write everything down in a spreadsheet or journal. You’ll be shocked at how much you see yourself spending.

Pro-tip: At the end of the month, take a close look at what you spent and see if there is anything worth cutting out to help you save money. Things like cooking at home rather than going out, or planning a day trip rather than a weekend trip. 

2. Find a Real Estate Agent That Works For You 

Buying a home is no small feat, in fact it is one of the biggest financial decisions of your life. Which means, finding the perfect real estate agent can take a whole lot of stress off you. Things like their familiarity with the area, positive communication, and motivation to help you are great traits to look for in your Realtor. 

3. Clearly Define Your Wants and Needs

It’s always a good idea to make a list of key features that you are looking for in a new home. Talk to family and friends who own homes about what features they wish they had or didn’t have. From there, make a list of some of your needs and non-negotiables. Most likely, finding a home with everything on your list will be difficult, so prioritize and be ready to compromise.

4. Research the Local Market

Before you actually put an offer on a home, take the time to monitor the market in the area you are looking to buy. Pay close attention to the length of time that homes in your price range stay on the market and if you see any big shifts in the asking prices. 

5. Think About the Long Term Commitment 

With each home you look at, it is important to think about the long term future. When the excitement of our new home purchase wears off and you have to live in it everyday, you may find little things that you would not have thought would effect your day to day. For example, the location of the house and the commute to work each day. How far the local schools are for kids, or something as small as the distance to the grocery store may heavily persuade you decision while choosing a home.