Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned real estate investor, buying a home is an exciting and exacting process. However, there’s also a lot to consider when you decide to buy. So before you begin your search for the perfect property, here are four questions you should ask yourself.

What do I want?
Take the time to figure out your priorities (large backyard, school system, walkability, etc.)- what type of property you want to buy and in what location. From single-family and multi-family homes to condos and townhomes, there are many different options and it’s important to choose the type that best fits your needs. Figuring out your favorite neighborhoods is the first step.

What can I afford?
The rule of thumb is that you should never spend more than 30% of your monthly income on a mortgage payment. For a more tailored look at what you can afford, your best bet is to speak to a lender or mortgage broker. I can recommend several great ones.

Am I financially prepared?
A few months before you start searching for a home, review your credit history and make sure it is in good standing. Get copies of your credit report, ensure that it’s accurate, and fix any issues you discover. It’s likely that you’ll also want to get pre-approved for a home loan, which will put you in a better position to make a serious offer once you find the right property. Pre-approval from a lender is based on your assets, credit history, debt, and income.

How do I make the best offer possible?
I will do the research! Your opening offer should be based on the sales trends of similar homes in the area. We need to look at the properties being actively marketed and even more importantly, at the recent sales. This information will aid in developing a strategy for making an offer.