Buying a new home is one of the costliest things someone can do short of getting a doctorate or taking a vacation to the moon. Whether you’re buying your first home or your fifteenth, there are certain gems of wisdom that you should keep first and foremost in your mind.  A good realtor can help you through these steps and more.

#1: If You Can’t Stay, Don’t Buy

Buying a home is a sign that you’re really ready to settle and put down some roots. A new home may not be the right move if you’re not sure you’ll be in the area next year because of work, family matters, or because you’re an undercover operative who may have to run at any moment. Generally speaking, it takes a long time to pay off a home, and even more time to sell it off when one intends to move.

#2: Get Pre-Approved For A Loan

Nothing is worse than finding the home of your dreams only to find out that you can’t get a big enough loan to actually make it your own. Before you even look at a single home you need to see how big of a loan you can qualify for. Pre-approval doesn’t mean you’re signing for a loan; rather it ballparks the amount you will qualify for from a given lender. Once you know how big your financial guns are, you’ll know exactly what kind of house you can hunt for and your pre-approval may put you at a competitive advantage when bidding against other buyers.

#3: Build Up Your Credit

As previously stated, buying a home is an expensive proposal, and most home owners will need a loan in order to get the house they want. Since these loans tend to be for large amounts of money, it’s important to have a solid, dependable credit history and to be considered a reliable investment. If you don’t have a good credit history then your loan may cost you more money, which means you won’t have as big a price range as you might want for your home.

#4: Get A Home Inspection

Just because a house looks exactly the way you want it to doesn’t mean there isn’t a trap lurking just below the surface. Even if everything seems completely legitimate, it’s important to get a home inspector to go over every inch of a potential buy before you put down a bid on it. Just because the tile floor gleams and the hardwood is buffed to a sheen doesn’t mean there isn’t mold in the crawlspaces or faulty wiring behind the newly plastered walls. Better to know before getting stuck with a lemon.

#5: Be Aware of Additional Costs and Fees

Buying a home might seem straightforward, but it isn’t. The cost of the home itself is one of the expenses, but you also need to take other things into consideration. The closing costs of the purchase, the cost of inspections, the fees associated with moving in, and whether or not your home loan has any additional costs to it as well. Before you decide you can afford to buy the home of your dreams, make sure you look at the total cost.