Buying a home can be a stressful process for one and all, whether first time buyer, seasoned mover or someone in the middle ground. Luckily several strategies can help keep your blood pressure low and stress levels under control.

Take your Time

First off, take a breath or two. Buying a home is huge! In many cases it is the biggest decision a person can make. Many only move a few or more times throughout their lifetime. It’s not going to happen overnight, or at least it shouldn’t. Don’t rush to put down an offer on the first house that looks good. Careful thought goes a long way to prevent buyer’s remorse. In this case, slow and steady or thoughtful and contemplative wins the race.

Make a List and Check It Twice

Create a dream list with all the bells and whistles, and then edit it to meet somewhere in the middle. Most homebuyers won’t be able to check off all their boxes so it’s important to determine what really matters. Know your bottom line for square footage, bedrooms, baths and outdoor living space. If you are a commuter, freeway proximity may be on your short list. Families may favor school districts in their search.

Be Flexible

Figure out the difference between needs and dreams and be prepared to land in between. Maybe the grass is the same shade green just a block or two over. The budget friendlier house may be further from the freeway but is next to a park and has more closet space.

Consult a Realtor

Having an expert on your side is key especially with such a monumental event. Realtors help navigate the ever changing real estate market. Pass your revised dream list over and watch what happens. Not only do realtors know the ins and outs of the home buying process, they keep you on track, within budget, and can direct you to home inspectors, explain industry formalities, legalities and more.

Get Close and Personal with Finances

The perfect property is the one you can afford. It’s invaluable to know your resources before delving in. Biting off more than you can chew is sure to cause stress levels to rise and stay high. Know your credit score and how it can affect your ability to secure a loan. Educate yourself about loan types and mortgage amounts. By creating a realistic budget in advance of house hunting, you are getting ahead and eliminating guesswork. Decide what you can spend and add in the extras like home insurance payments and surprise expenses.

Minimizing your stress allows you to enjoy the journey of home hunting. By taking time, knowing what you want and consulting the experts you will be prepared for a more enjoyable process.