First of all, congratulations! Buying a home is a milestone most people dream about, and you’realmost ready to accomplish this commendable goal. Before you do any serious house hunting, we have a few pointers on how to make this process as stress-free as possible.

If you follow the steps below, you’ll be turning the key to your dream home before you know it.

#1: What Can You Afford?

Asking yourself this age-old question is at the core of most house-hunting advice—and for a good reason. It’s absolutely essential to determine your budget before you start actively looking.

You don’t want the heartbreak that comes with falling in love with a house, only to find out it’s too expensive. Plus, you don’t want to waste your realtor’s time searching for houses that aren’t realistic.

So, how do you determine your purchase price? There’s a lot to take into consideration:

● Use an online mortgage calculator
● Check your credit score
● Consider your debts and expenses
● Evaluate your cash-flow

#2: Align Your Budget with Your Dreams

Now that you’ve tackled the not-so-fun aspect of this journey, it’s time to move on to the exciting part: finding your dream home! If you aren’t sure exactly what you’re looking for, start by asking yourself the following questions:

● What’s my ideal neighborhood?
● Are the nearby public schools any good?
● How close am I to work, and what will my commute be like?
● Do I want a big yard?
● Are there any accessibility concerns, like stairs or narrow hallways, that could be an issue for myself or my family members?

The list could go on and on, but the questions above are a great place to start.

#3: Don’t Get Stuck in a Mortgage Rut

When you imagine the mortgage process, you probably think about taking out a traditional loan with a 20% down payment. While that’s certainly a viable possibility for some, there are several other options to consider.

real estate investment

This is where doing your homework is key. From Tennessee VA loans to federal FHA mortgages, there’s a range of possibilities you might not even be aware of.

#4: Leave No Stone Unturned (and No House Uninspected)

Sure, a house might look like it’s move-in ready. However, that doesn’t mean you should forgo hiring a professional inspector. The last thing you want is to discover your new home has a serious termite infestation, an unstable foundation, or a leaky roof.

Not only will these problems cost you a pretty penny, but they can also be dangerous. Professional inspectors can spot issues like asbestos, which can cause long-term health problems.

If the mere thought of a termite infestation or dangerous, carcinogenic minerals hasn’t convinced you, take a look at what other issues your professional inspector will be able to spot:

● Water damage
● Structural integrity issues
● Uneven floors
● Leaning chimneys
● Faulty wiring
● Bad insulation
● Gaps between floors and walls
● Leaning porches


#5: Have a Solid (Personal and Professional) Support System

This won’t come as much of a surprise but buying a home can be stressful.

The best way to deal with the ups and downs of purchasing real estate is to have a substantial support system to rely on. From a practical standpoint, working with a great realtor can make your life easier. From an emotional standpoint, be prepared to depend on your loved ones to get you through the frustrating moments—buckle up, mom, you’re in for a wild ride (and a lot of venting).