Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make, and not just financially. Buying a house is a big deal and big decision, and you had better be sure of what you are doing before you sign on the dotted line. Today I am going to give you some common-sense ideas and tips on how to make your house buying experience the best one.

1. Get education as a home buyer – first time buyers classes are great, but there are other methods. House buying can be a complicated process, and the more you know the better.

2. Get financing pre-approved. This is a big one, and it can save a ton of time, money and heartache. Once you are pre-approved, it just comes down to picking the right home.

3. Figure up the maximum you want to spend per month. Then figure 80% of that is actually the best maximum monthly payment. After you find that amount, the house you can afford will depend on the interest rate and how much down-payment you can afford. So, let’s say you decided 750 was a good sized payment. With the 80% rule that would put your actual recommended payment at 600/mo. At 5.5% interest, that will put your maximum amount at about $105,000.

4. Know your neighborhood. Don’t just look at your street – drive around first one block, then three and four and more. Will you have or do you have kids? A major highway two streets away or three streets away will not be ideal. Visit your neighborhood at different times of the day and week as well. This is an extreme example, but if there is a guy on a Harley doing donuts in the next yard over you might want to rethink something!

5. Hire your own inspector. Don’t trust an anonymous inspector – hire your own and tell him you want to know everything that is wrong with the house. Demand on a detailed report. The same goes for the appraiser.

6. Find a good realtor. It is a myth that buying a house through a realtor is more expensive. I am not saying it never happens, but it is in a realtor’s best interest to move a house quickly. You can’t do that when you are trying to gouge people. A good realtor can be a huge help in picking the right neighborhoods and types of properties, especially with many of the interactive internet sites some realtors have set up.

7. Explore different mortgages. Understand your mortgage – avoid anything with deferred interest or balloon payments, but do look at a fifteen year mortgage. They can save a huge amount of money.

8. Try to maintain the ‘business perspective’ of buying a home. Be willing to negotiate, and try to remain unemotional. No house is perfect, and the worst thing you can do is go over what you had decided your best offer would be.

9. Shop for the big things. The size of the yard and the structure of the house are what matter. If you are happy with that, you can make small changes to make your new home as close to perfect as possible.

10. If you don’t understand, ask questions. Going through step one (education) will enable you to ask the right questions through these other steps.

And that is it – these simple tips, put into practice through many years, are the best ways I know to make sure your next home is your best one!

Author’s Bio:
J Pinot writes about real estate and home maintenance issues for many blogs and realtors, including Houston Heights Real Estate!