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1. Find a real estate professional who will fit your needs. Home buying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. Ita��s critical that the practitioner you choose is both skilled and a good fit with your personality.
2. Remember, therea��s no a�?righta�? time to buy, any more than there is a right time to sell. If you find a home now, dona��t try to second-guess the interest rates or the housing market by waiting. Changes dona��t usually occur fast enough to make that much difference in price and a good home wona��t stay on the market long.
3. Dona��t ask for too many options. Ita��s natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas will make it much harder to make a decision.
4. Accept that no house is ever perfect. Focus in on the things that are most important to you and let the minor ones go.
5. Dona��t try to be a killer negotiator. Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, by trying to a�?wina�? by getting an extra-low price may lose you the home you love.
6. Remember your home doesna��t exist in a vacuum. Dona��t get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself-room size, kitchen-that you forget such issues as amenities, noise level, etc., that have a big impact on what ita��s like to live in your new home.
7. Dona��t wait until youa��ve found a home and made an offer to get approved for a mortgage, investigate insurance availability, and consider a schedule for moving. Presenting an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your bid much less attractive to sellers.
8. Factor in maintenance and repair costs in your post-home buying budget. Even if you buy a new home, there will be some costs. Dona��t leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.
9. Accept that a little buyera��s remorse is inevitable and will probably pass. Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big commitment, but it also yields big benefits.
10. Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation. While U.S. homes have appreciated an average of 5.4% annually from 1998 to 2002, a homea��s most important rose is as a comfortable, safe place to live.

Reprinted from REALTOR Magazine Online by permission of the National Association of REALTORS, Copyright 2005, All rights reserved.
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