Many dream of owning their own home. With the proper preparation, you’ll be able to start your home search and find your perfect place with as little stress as possible. This is by no means a comprehensive list of ways to prepare for home buying, but it can be a step in the right direction.

Get Your Finances in Order

As gung-ho as you may be to start the home search, if you don’t know your budget, you’ll likely waste time looking in the wrong price point. A good first step in home buying is to talk to a lender about financing, and decide if it’s the right time for you to buy. Getting pre-approved for a home loan isn’t mandatory, but it allows you to not only know your budget, but can also help show you’re a serious buyer when the time comes to purchase. In other words, getting pre-approved is highly recommended.

Identify the Extra Costs Affecting Your Possible Home Purchase

Extra costs are a major part of the home buying process. It’s important to factor the possible costs of insurance, closing fees, and taxes into your budget. If you choose a house in a neighborhood that’s governed by a homeowners association, there will likely be extra HOA fees each month. Even extra costs for repairs should be factored into your budget, especially if you choose a home that needs a lot of work. Ask questions to be sure you are fully understanding the costs involved with a possibly transaction.

Home Inspections Are Mandatory!

Even if your seller makes it clear that they will not foot the cost of repairs, getting a home inspection is vital. You’ll be able to see if there are health and safety issues with the house, and you’ll know what needs to be fixed immediately instead of leaving it to chance. A home inspection is one of the smartest choices you can make in the home buying process.