Buying a home is a large commitment, so large that it often causes people to hesitate and delay actually buying a home. Once a prospective homebuyer has saved a sufficient amount of money and has searched for the right home for a few weeks or months, the step of actually buying the home can be intimidating.

Buying a home means you plan on staying in that home for a fairly significant period of time. It means you are committing to that house, that neighborhood, and that financial investment. Doubts may come to mind as to whether the home you want is too expensive or the right fit. You may consider all of the future scenarios that could cause you to regret the decision: what happens if you lose your job, or the commute to work starts to aggravate you, or your family grows? With all of the unknowns, fear creeps in. It causes a person to fall back on what is comfortable. All of the sudden, the obnoxious neighbors, creaky floors, and lack of a yard of your current home does not seem like such a big deal.

Here are five steps to overcoming the unknowns and moving forward in becoming a homeowner.

  1. Prepare your finances. Come up with a list of all of the expenses that will arise in the process of buying your home. Consider the cost of taxes, lawn care, utilities, commuting, insurance, etc. You will want to compare your current budget with this new budget. If your future budget looks to be more than your current budget, make sure that it is still within a frame that you can afford on a continuous basis.
  2. Work with a real estate agent. Though the internet provides a vast amount of knowledge, a real estate agent will be able to provide you with more information than what you may be able to find on your own. Finding a real estate agent who has good credentials and is a good listener will transform the process for you. They will be able to find properties, set up appointments to see the properties, and help plug you into a new community.
  3. Understand that there is risk involved. You will never be able to know exactly what is going to happen in the future. But, you can prepare yourself well for the unexpected problems. Seek advice, learn from other’s experiences, and have extra money available.
  4. Know your essentials. Come up with a list of what is essential for you to enjoy a home. Make sure that the homes you are looking at have those essentials. Then be willing to be flexible on the rest.
  5. Be prepared to bid on a home. Homes go on the market just as quickly as they go off. If you find a home that you love, be ready to go after it right away. It is better to try to bid on a home you love, then to have never tried at all.

Completing these five steps will move you along in the home buying process. Overcoming the fear of the unknown in homeownership is tough. Buying a home is a large commitment, but the benefits of the commitment are rewarding!