By Emily Starbuck Crone Buying a home can be unnerving, especially if you are a first-time buyer. Not only is it probably the biggest purchase of your life, but the process is complicated and fraught with unknown languages and surprise expenses. To make the purchase journey a little less stressful for the first time, NerdWallet has compiled these 25 tips to help you navigate the process more smoothly and save you money.1. Start saving early for a down payment It is normal to reduce by 20%, but many lenders now allow much less and first-time buyer programs allow a drop of just 3%. Hitting less than 20% can result in higher costs and paying for private mortgage insurance, and even a small down payment can still be heavy. For example, a 5% deposit on a $ 200,000 home is $ 10,000. Play with a down payment calculator to help you reach a goal. Some tips for saving on a down payment include setting aside tax refunds and work bonuses, setting up an automatic savings plan, and using an app to track your progress .2. Check your credit When you are taking out a mortgage, your credit will be one of the key factors for your approval and will help you determine your interest rate and possibly the terms of the loan. So check your credit before starting the home buying process. Dispute any mistakes that could drag your credit score down and look for opportunities to improve your credit, such as denting any outstanding debt. Pause any new credit activity Whenever you open a new credit account, whether taking out a car loan or getting a new credit card, the lender makes a tough request, which can temporarily change your credit score. If you apply for a mortgage early, avoid opening new credit accounts to prevent your score from falling. Determine how much home you can afford Before you start looking for your dream home, you need to know what is actually in your price range. Use a home accessibility calculator to determine how much you can safely spend. Explore your down payment options Are you struggling to find enough money for a down payment? First-time home buyer programs are plentiful, including federal mortgage programs with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which allow loans with only 3% less, in addition to Federal Housing Administration loans and veteran business loans . You can also try crowdfunding or ask if family members are willing to present a gift. Finding State and Local Assistance Programs In addition to federal programs, many states offer assistance programs for first-time home buyers with benefits such as tax credits, low-cost loans, and interest-free loans up to a certain amount. amount. Your county or town may also have home buyer programs for the first time. Budget for closing costs In addition to saving for a down payment, it is necessary to budget the budget necessary to close the mortgage, which can be significant. Closing costs generally range from 2% to 5% of the loan amount. You can shop around and compare the prices of some closing fees, such as homeowners insurance, home inspections and stock searches. You can also cover the costs by asking the seller to pay a portion of the closing costs or by negotiating the real estate agent's commission. Put more money aside for After Move-InSorry, it's not all you need to save money before shopping at home. Once saved for your down payment and budgeted for closing costs, you should also set aside a buffer to pay for what will go inside the house. This includes furnishings, appliances, rugs, updated fixtures, new paint and any other touches that you will want to have when you move. Consider what type of property to buy.You might assume that you will buy a single family home, and this may be ideal if you want a large space or a lot of space. But if you're willing to sacrifice space for less maintenance and extra services and don't mind paying a membership fee for homeowners, a condominium or townhouse may be your best bet. Research Mortgage Options Is it a 30 year fixed rate mortgage or is it another type of loan right for you? If you can afford higher monthly payments, you can get a lower interest rate with a 20 or 15 year fixed loan. Or you may prefer a variable rate mortgage, which is riskier but guarantees a low interest rate for the first few years of your mortgage.11. Compare Mortgage Rates Many homebuyers get a quote from just one lender, but this often leaves money on the table. Comparing the mortgage rates of at least three lenders can save you more than $ 3,500 in the first five years of your loan, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Office. Get at least three quotes and compare both fees and commissions. 12. Decide whether paying for points makes SenseLenders often allows you to buy discount points, which means prepaying interest in advance to ensure a lower interest rate. There may also be an option for negative points, where the lender pays some of the closing costs in exchange for a higher interest rate. How long you plan to stay at home is one of the key factors in whether buying points makes sense. You will need to do some math or talk to a mortgage broker or loan agent to help you decide if it is worth buying points for you.13. Get a Pre-Approval Letter You can get a prequalification, which simply gives you an estimate of how much a lender might be willing to lend based on your income and your debts. But as you get closer to buying a house, it is smart to get a preapprovation, in which the lender carefully examines your finances and confirms in writing how much he is willing to lend you and under what conditions. Having an approval letter in your hand makes you look a lot more serious for a seller and can give you an edge over buyers who haven't taken this step.14. Hire the right buyer agent You will work closely with your real estate agent, so finding someone to get along with is essential. The right buying agent should be highly qualified, motivated and knowledgeable about the area. Stay below your pre-application limit As your agent shows you houses, look for properties that cost a little less than the amount you were approved for. While technically you can afford that amount, it's the ceiling – and it doesn't take into account a broken washer or dryer or any other expenses that arise during home ownership, particularly right after purchase. Instead of maximizing this amount, set a lower purchase budget to make room for unexpected costs.16. Choose the right neighborhood Finding the right neighborhood is just as important as finding the right home. Search in schools, even if you don't have children, as this affects the value of a home. See local statistics on security and crime. How close are the hospital, pharmacy, grocery store and other nearest services you will use? Additionally, drive through the neighborhood on various days and times to check traffic, noise and activity levels. Get the most out of an open house If there is an open house, use it as another opportunity to explore the neighborhood and your potential neighbors. During the open house, pay close attention to the general condition of the house and look for any smells, stains or ruined objects. Ask many questions about the house, such as when it was built, when the latest items were replaced, and how many old key systems like air conditioning and heating are. If several other potential buyers are viewing the house at the same time as you, don't hesitate to schedule a second or third visit to get a closer look and ask more questions. >> Information about 3D Home Tours18. Buy a home for tomorrow It's easy to look at properties that meet your current needs. But if you're planning to start or expand your family, it may be preferable to buy a bigger house to grow up in. Consider your future needs and desires and if this house will satisfy them.19. Let the little things go When you look at a house, it's easy to get caught up in surface details like paint color, fixtures and rugs. These features are easy to edit once the house is yours, so don't let those little details stand in the way. 20. Prepare for Compromise It is rare to find a perfect home in all respects, so think carefully about what you are willing to compromise on and what you are not. Perhaps no walk-in closet in the master bedroom is a bargain, but an outdated guest bathroom will be tolerable until it can be renovated.21. Make a strong offer Your real estate agent can help you with this, but consider how much below or above the asking price you are willing to pay to get the house of your dreams. If there are multiple offers, think of tactics to win over the seller, like a personalized letter. 22. Avoid a bidding war that blows up your budget In a competitive real estate market with limited stocks, you are likely to bid on houses that get the most deals. When you find a home you love, it's tempting to make an expensive offer that will surely win. But don't let your emotions take over; stick to your purchase budget to avoid getting stuck with a mortgage payment you can't afford.23. Negotiating A lot can be negotiated in the home buying process, which can result in significant savings. Are there any major repairs that you can get the seller to cover, fully managing them or giving you a credit adjustment on closing? Is the seller willing to pay for one of the closing costs? If you find yourself in a buyer market, you may find that the seller will negotiate with you to get the house out of the market. 24. Buy homeowners insurance Before closing your new home, your lender will ask you to buy homeowners insurance. Look around and compare the rates to find the best price. Look closely at what is covered by the policies; going with a less expensive policy usually means less protection and more out of pocket expenses if a claim is made. Keep in mind that the insurer can leave your property if he believes that the house conditions are not up to par, so you may have to be ready to find a new policy quickly if he sends someone to look at the property and is not happy. with what it finds. Also, flood damage is not covered by homeowners insurance, so if your new home is located in a flood prone area, you may want to purchase separate flood insurance. >> Cities where high school graduates can also afford a home25. Know the Limits of a Home Inspection Once you accept your offer, you will pay for a home inspection to review the condition of the property inside and out. But not all inspections test things like radon, mold or pests, so make sure you know what's included. Make sure the inspector can access all parts of the house, such as the roof and all crawl spaces. Participate in the inspection and pay close attention. Don't be afraid to ask your inspector to take a look – or more closely – at something and ask questions. No inspector will answer the question "Should I buy this house?", So you will have to make this decision after reviewing the reports and seeing what the seller is willing to solve. This article is reprinted with permission from NerdWallet. NerdWallet: Emily Starbuck Crone is a writer on the NerdWallet staff. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.