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When the time comes and you’re ready to buy your first home, there is a lot to think about and it can be an overwhelming process. Mistakes are inevitable, but if you do your research first before diving in, you can save yourself from making costly mistakes. Here’s what you should be aware of:

Getting pre-qualified instead of pre-approved. This is a big one. Many first-time buyers are so eager to get started and unaware of the process that they think being pre-qualified is good enough. It’s not. Not if you want to be 100-percent secure that you will indeed have the budget you think you’ll have. Get pre-approved so you and the seller know you will be good for the money if you decide to purchase the home.

Foregoing a home inspection. It’s far too easy to just decide that the home looks great and jump in with an offer without requiring a home inspection—especially in a hot market where you will want to make your offer as attractive as possible to the seller. But this is to your own detriment. The naked eye and the average buyer can’t see hidden issues that an inspector will be able to find.

Overbidding. If you’ve had an offer or two refused and are feeling a little desperate, it’s all too common to throw out a higher than necessary offer just to secure the home. It’s always a mistake to get desperate and just jump on a home in fear of not finding anything else, especially considering that new homes are put up on the market every day. Patience will always pay off and provide you with the best home at the best price.

Not using an agent. It’s common to want to save some money by house hunting on your own instead of using a real estate agent, but in the long run it could cost you more than you would save once you factor in the time you’ll spend learning about real estate. And you could lose out on your dream home because agents have access to listings that are not yet public. At the end of the day, the value an agent exceeds any additional cost.

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