Looking to buy a home? Here are a few essential tips for making the process as smooth as possible.

Hiring Our Professional Real Estate Agent –While the Internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings and resources, many aspects of the buying process require a level of expertise you can’t pick up from surfing the web. That’s why you’re better off using a professional agent than going it alone.

Getting Pre-Approved- Start by getting a full picture of your credit. Obtain copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you find. Next, find a suitable lender and get pre-approved for a loan. This will put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house.

Finding A House You Can Afford- When it comes to buying a home: two-and-a-half times your annual salary. There are also a number of tools and calculators online that can help you understand how your income, debt, and expenses affect what you can afford. Don’t forget, too, that there are lots of considerations beyond the sticker price, including property taxes, energy costs, etc.

Making An Offer- Before making an offer, do some research to determine the state of the market at large. Look at sales trends of similar homes in the area or neighborhood. Look at prices for the last few months. Come up with an asking price that’s competitive, but also realistic. 

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORSĀ®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.