As a first time buyer, you’re probably excited to start the process of looking for your new home. But before you get your comfortable shoes on and start looking at listings, there are a few things you should do first. Many first time buyers forget to do these steps and end up regretting it in the long run.

1. Waiting to get Approved

Getting pre-approved is a good way to help narrow down your home search for a few reasons. First, it helps you get an idea of how much you can spend. It is one thing to try and come up with a budget based on your own math, but the bank will have the final word on exactly how much you can spend, and it may be a different amount than you anticipated.

The second reason to get pre-qualified before you start looking for a home is to confirm that you have everything in place that you need to in order to buy a home. The lender will ask for proof of your employment and check your credit as part of the process. Any issues that may come up during this process are better to know about up front so you can attempt to resolve them before you enter the purchase process.

2. Limiting Yourself to One Area

Many first time buyers go into the process with a set idea of where they want to purchase a home. But the perfect home that hits all of their must haves might just be a short drive away. Staying open to seeing properties outside your desired area will help you have a better idea of how far your money will go. Oftentimes, purchasing just outside a trendy area will get you much more within the same budget, and a good real estate agent can steer you towards these homes as long as you are open to seeing them.

3. Only Seeing a Property Once Before Buying

Even if you fall in love with your dream home and are sure you are going to buy it, it still makes sense to visit the home more than once before you put an offer in. Visit on a different day of the week or different time of the day to see if traffic around the area is much worse at a given time, or if you see issues on the exterior of the home during the midday hour.

4. Going With The First Mortgage Lender You See

Shopping around to see the different rates that are offered to you is well worth the effort and time. Even if the rate you end up getting is only lower by a few percent, the savings you will have over the life of the loan can add up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

These common mistakes are easy to avoid making with a little planning and some work up front. As a first time buyer, you have to be willing to conduct some research and do a little legwork to ensure you get the best possible deal.