Do you think that buying a house is stressful? You're probably right. However, you can ease your mind as a first-time homebuyer with these important tips

In 2018, more than 5.34 million homes sold to new owners. For many of those owners, it was their first time buying a house.

Getting out of the rental market is a big step. But it should come as no surprise that buying a house is stressful, especially for first-time homebuyers.

That experience is stressful at the best of times, but if you’ve never bought a house before, the process is even more taxing. There’s financing to get, open houses to attend, and legal documents to sign.
If you’re prepared, you’ll be able to avoid much of the stress that most first-time buyers experience. Here are a few tips to help.  

1. Pay Down Your Debts First
Buying a house means taking out a large home loan for most homebuyers. If your credit isn’t great, you’ll end up paying more in interest costs and may not get approved for the mortgage you need.

Before you start looking for a house, pay down your existing debts as much as possible. Start with the highest interest credit cards or loans you have. Pay as much as you can each month.

The more you pay down your debts, the higher your credit score will be. The better your score, the better mortgage you’ll qualify for.

2. Save for a Down Payment
Almost every homebuyer needs to have cash on-hand to buy a house. This amount is the down payment. It’s different for every home you’re interested in.

As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to have between 15 and 25 percent of the asking price of the home saved up. This will help show your mortgage lender that you’re serious about the house.

It also helps you avoid having to buy private mortgage insurance which adds to your monthly costs. This insurance helps protect your mortgage lender from fees and costs if you default on the loan.

3. Get Pre-Approved Before You Start Looking
When you decide to buy a house, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement. You want to get out there and start touring properties immediately.

But that doesn’t mean you should. The last thing you want to do is fall in love with a house that you can’t buy.

Before you start looking, get pre-approved for a mortgage and shop around for the best interest rates and loan options. Some lenders may offer you better loan rates and higher loan amounts than others. If you go with the first lender you find, you could miss out on a better deal.

Getting pre-approved also helps you set a firm budget for your home search. If you can’t get qualified for a larger loan, you can’t buy a more expensive house.

4. Work with a Real Estate Agent
If you’ve never bought a house before, navigating the market can be tough. It’s always best to work with an experienced professional, especially for your first home.

Start looking for real estate agents and meet with at least three. Get to know them, find out their experience, and discuss your needs and concerns with each one. Then, work with the agent you feel most confident in.

Remember, your agent will help you find the right house for your budget. Since they have industry connections, they’re able to find properties faster and get you a tour sooner than you could on your own.

5. Be Patient
Buying a house takes time and it’s incredibly unlikely that you’ll find your dream home on the first day of your search.

Don’t lose hope or give up if you don’t find a house you love immediately. Give it time, be patient, and keep searching. Don’t feel pressured to rush into a house you don’t absolutely love.

Even if it takes a few months, you’ll find the perfect house.

6. Stay within Your Budget
No matter what you’re prequalified for, you need to think about how much you can afford to pay each month. But there are more costs associated with homeownership than your mortgage alone.

You also have to pay for homeowners insurance, utilities, and maintenance costs each month. This can end up adding several hundred dollars on top of your monthly mortgage payment.

Think about what you can comfortably spend each month on your house and stick to that budget. This guide will show you how to find the best insurance coverage for your budget so you can minimize your costs as much as possible.

7. Don’t Forget to Look at the Neighborhood
Just because you find the house of your dreams doesn’t mean it’s the right one. When you buy a home, you’re not just living inside the house itself—you’re living in the neighborhood.

If the neighborhood has a high crime rate, you’re going to be living with the consequences of the area. If it’s far from work, you’re going to have to deal with long commute times.

Before you commit to a house, research the neighborhood. See if the commute is something you’re comfortable with. Look into the crime rate for the area and research the quality of the school district if you have or plan on having kids.

If the neighborhood is a good fit, consider buying the house. But if the home is in a bad area, keep looking.

8. Think About Your Future
The average homeowner stays in the same house for about 13.3 years. A lot can change over that time. You’ll want to make sure your home fits your needs both now and in the future.

If you plan on having kids, factor that plan into your home choice. If there are any other amenities that you know you’ll need, try to find a house that can meet those needs right off the bat.

This will save you frustration and money in the long run. You’ll be able to stay in your house longer and won’t have to worry about the hassle of selling shortly after you buy the property.

There’s No Denying That Buying a House Is Stressful
Buying a house is stressful, no matter how many times you’ve bought property in the past. But these tips will help you feel better prepared for buying your first home without the stress.

Looking for more helpful tips to make your new house feel like home? Check out our latest posts.