Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can be a tremendous time saver in helping you understand what you can afford. If possible, try to buy a home in a price range that allows you to put down 20%. If you put down less than this, you will have to pay PMI (private mortgage insurance) to protect the lender in case you default on the loan. 20% may be a lot, but it’s not unrealistic. You may not be able to do it on your first home, but hopefully you can on your second home. The profits from the sale of a first home can enable you to have more than enough for the 20% down payment on your second home. You don’t have to use all of your profits as a down payment. Many people save some for unexpected expenses that tend to come up when buying a home. Use a Local Mortgage CompanyLocal Mortgage lenders can offer more personalized service. People tend to go with large, well-known banks, since that’s all they are familiar with. Local companies provide excellent customer service and offer competitive home loan rates compared to larger banks. They are proven to be crucial time savers because your file stays with your loan originator and processor throughout the mortgage process, allowing you to have the ability to speak directly with them at any time. Traditionally, local mortgage companies don’t spend a lot of money on huge advertising campaigns – they often rely on word-of-mouth – so they maintain a high level of customer service in order to preserve your business and get referrals.Always have A home InspectionMost people know this fact already, but it is really important to get a home inspection in areas with a hot real estate market. You can easy get caught up in a bidding war and overlook shortfalls of the home because you are so focused on winning the war. Many people want a house so badly that not only do they overbid, but they also waive the home inspection. They get the house only to find out later it had several thousand dollars worth of damage that would have been found in an inspection.As a final note, try to remember that buying a home doesn’t have to be scary. It’s very exciting to own your own home; so think of all the good things that to come once you have made it through the home-buying process. If you follow the above advice, you should be well-equipped to make it through unscathed.