Buying a home has never been an easy undertaking. There are decisions to be made and compromises to work out. And of course, buying a home represents the single largest expenditure most people make in their lifetimes. It is no wonder that so many people find buying a house extremely stressful.

The realtors at CityHome Collective in Salt Lake City, Utah says there are things that buyers can do to reduce the stress that comes with buying. They offer the following five tips to new home buyers and property ladder climbers alike:

1. Look at Your Circumstances

The place to start is looking at your circumstances in the same way a bank would look at them. It is easy for new buyers to assume they are ready to buy when they really aren’t. Likewise, current owners might think they are ready to take that next step up the property ladder only to find out that lenders disagree.

What should you be looking at? Consider:

  • the length of your current employment
  • your debt-to-income ratio
  • your credit history and score
  • your savings and other liquid assets.

These are things that lenders look at to determine credit worthiness. If they do not come away with a good impression of your readiness to buy, you might not be able to get a mortgage. And even if you can get a mortgage, you are not likely to get a good deal if lenders are not enthusiastic about you.

2. Establish a Workable Budget

Should your circumstances prove favorable, establish a budget. In other words, figure out what you can realistically afford to spend. Far too many home buyers opt for more expensive homes under the false assumption that a slightly higher mortgage payment will not be a big deal. Do not make that mistake. Establish a budget and stick to it. Otherwise, you could end up purchasing something you will not be able to hold on to.

3. Save Before You Shop

CityHome Collective realtors strongly recommend saving before you shop. Save enough to cover closing costs and a decent down payment. The more money you bring to the table, the better your position in both negotiating a purchase price and satisfying lenders. As an added bonus, saving more means financing less. That ultimately saves you money.

4. Get Preapproved

Mortgage preapproval can make a big difference when it is time to put an offer on a house. Sellers tend to be more receptive to buyers with preapproval because there is less risk of a deal falling through. Also consider the fact that preapproval should make your house hunting a bit more efficient by eliminating houses you know you cannot really afford.

5. Set Realistic Expectations

Finally, do yourself and your real estate agent a favor and establish realistic expectations. If you are new to the home buying game, accept from the outset that the likelihood of you finding everything you want, at a price you can afford, is not very high. Go into the process understanding that you are going to have to compromise in some areas.

Your real estate agent is the most qualified to tell you what the market looks like at the time you are ready to start shopping. Pay attention to your agent’s advice. Do not build yourself up with such high expectations that the entire experience ends up being a letdown.

Buying a home is not an easy task. But if you go into it fully prepared and with the right mindset, it can certainly be a rewarding task. Hopefully the five tips presented in this post have pointed you in that direction.