1. Don't buy if you can't stay put.
When purchasing a home, plan on ideally staying in that particular location at least a few years to make the move more worthwhile financially.
2. Make sure your Credit is in order
Prior to your house hunting adventure, get copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you discover.
3. Stay within your Realistic Price Range
The rule of thumb is that you can buy housing that runs about two-and-one-half times your annual salary. It's best to not be too strapped in case something crazy comes up (which always does!)
4. Try to have at least 20% for Down Payment
There are a variety of public and private lenders with a variety of options but most require at least 20% Down.
5. Choosing a Home in a GOOD School District is Important for Re-Sale and Value
Regardless of whether you have school aged children yourself or not, when it comes time to sell, you'll learn that strong school districts are a top priority for many home buyers, thus helping to boost property values.
6. Get help from a Professional and Reputable Realtor
Look for an exclusive buyer agent, if possible, who will have your interests at heart and can help you with strategies during the bidding process.
7. Choose wisely and carefully when shopping for a Home Loan
Rate vs. Points ... If you stay in the house for a long time -- say three to five years or more -- it's usually a better deal to take the points. The lower interest rate will save you more in the long run.
8. Make sure to be "Pre-Approved" BEFORE House Shopping
Getting pre-approved will you save yourself the grief of looking at houses you can't afford and put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house.
9. Be Educated and Informed and know your Market
Your opening bid should be based on the sales trend of similar homes in the neighborhood. So before making it, consider sales of similar homes in the last three months.
10. Hire a Reputable Home Inspector
His or her job will be to point out potential problems that could require costly repairs down the road.