Becoming a new homebuyer is exciting but it’s better to be prepared. Most first-time homebuyers get so excited that they skip the educational part. Buying a home is a dream for a number of people, but finding the perfect house can be overwhelming for first-time homebuyers. There are a number of different factors to consider when buying a house, and the possibility of making a wrong decision is daunting. There are several different steps potential homebuyers can take to make the process go smoothly.

1. Make A List

Before looking at the house it’s important for potential homebuyers to make a list regarding what they want in a house, and in a neighborhood. This list will be different for everyone some people will want a quiet, secluded street in the suburbs, while others will want to live in the middle of the city. One person may want an old home with lots of character, while another may prefer new construction.

Decide what is important to you, and jot it down. You won’t be able to get everything that you want. So write the list in order of most important to least important, and be prepared to give in on some points.

2. Set a Budget

It’s extremely important to set a budget and stick to it before you begin looking at houses. First-time homebuyers are often surprised at what fits in their budget, and it’s tempting to up your budget if you find a house with hardwood floors or the open concept you were dreaming of. Before you begin the viewing process, you should get pre-approved for a loan, so you know exactly how much money you have to spend.

However, you don’t have to spend every penny that you’re approved for-remember, there are a number of unforeseen costs to homeownership, from maintenance problems that crop up to unexpectedly high closing costs. Choose a number that you’re comfortable with and stick to it.

3. Look at the Big Picture

It’s important to look at the big picture when buying a home. You may not have children now, but if you’re considering having them in the near future. Then you need to buy a house in a good school district and with parks and outdoor space. Also, need to consider resale value when you buy a home. You may not have a problem with the master bedroom window overlooking a bar, but it will probably lower the value of your house in the long run, and make it more difficult to sell.

4. Compromise

First-time homebuyers often think that they’re going to find the “perfect” home that meets all the criteria on their list. In reality, you’re going to have to compromise. You should make it a list of a few non-negotiable items, but be willing to compromise on the rest. These items should be things that were things that you can’t change, like location or square footage.

You may really want hardwood floors or stainless steel appliances, but these things can be changed; what school district your house is in or your proximity to the city cannot.

5. Get a Property Report

Getting a property report is a great way for first-time buyers to get a comprehensive overview of the area they’re looking at. The Local Records Office provides clients with these reports. The report includes information on property values, crime rates, area demographics, foreclosure activity, and more.