Deciding on the right house for you, whether it’s your first or tenth, is an enormous decision. Multiple factors drive the selection process, creating much stress and second guessing. First time home buyer education arms purchasers with vital knowledge that helps make the right decision.

Here are 4 smart ways first time home buyers can prepare for real estate market.

First, know the importance of pre-qualification. This is the first step on the lengthy road to home ownership. Buyers who are pre-qualified possess more leverage in the negotiating process, and show they are serious about purchasing a home. In addition, any issues such as credit are better dealt with during the pre-qualifying process rather than after you have chosen your dream home, when it can disrupt the entire deal.

You must also do your buying homework. First time home buyer education advises you to work out your budget up front. Include the amount you can handle for monthly utilities and general home upkeep as well. Once you pinpoint the range you can realistically afford, don’t stray from that plan. The last thing you want to do is worry about meeting your payments every month because you bought too much house.

After you have laid out your parameters, it’s time to…

…Find a professional real estate agent. First time home buyers should never navigate the home buying process alone. Put time into finding the realtor that best fits your needs. Interview a few, and ask questions to determine if he or she will work with your requirements. If they seem too busy for questions, insist you increase your budget, or fail to listen to the amenities you want, keep looking until you find the right one.

Finally, take your time with review and consideration. Visit and walk through a variety of neighborhoods and styles, and note the features you like and the ones you don’t. Build a list, and strive to find a home that offers the majority of your “must haves.” Shopping around educates you on home buying. It pays to not to rush the decision.

Buying a home for the first time is exciting and terrifying. A professional realtor and an experienced loan officer are instrumental in relieving a great deal of the stress. Even with these people in your corner, you will find home buyer education as well as doing your own proactive research invaluable to your buying experience. For more first time home buyer education, download our eBook now!