Few things are ever so important is owning a house. Home ownership is tied to so many things which define a sense of social and economic well-being in the society. But buying a house is an equally challenging task because for most people, it is a lifelong decision, commitment that may take a long time to change. First, time buyers in particular, need to carefully weigh the decision before breaking the bank.

Now, the subject of buying a house is so wide that there is really no standard criteria for making the decision. It all depends on certain physical and psychological factors which change with every location and every individual. However, there are certain agreed upon principles that may act as a guide to make the process successful. Here are a five to get you started:

Decide what you want

Putting down your objectives and preferences for home ownership upfront helps you think through the process and the outcome in advance. It helps you form a picture of the type of house you want and that you can afford given your present financial condition. If you do you research well, it will also help you to weigh the odds of finding that type of house in the market you are considering. In addition, it makes work easier for everyone involved in the home ownership process and can shorten the length of time required to complete a purchase.

Put aside your emotions

Emotions are volatile, leading to excitement and panic, both of which can lead you to make the wrong decision. Buying a house ought to be a rational and well thought out process free of judgement bias. A first time buyers for instance, may get excited at a particular property without due regard to analysis of the property as well as their economic situation. It is good to remember that what looks like the ideal home may not look so good on the deal.

Beware of additional costs

Houses usually have issues. Whether you build from the house yourself or you buy in the market, there are high chances that you will incur additional costs in repairs and maintenance or structural alterations. Once you begin considering a particular house, you should factor in all these costs into your home ownership plan because they can be significant.

Work with a trusted agent

Finding a reputable agent to work with, will greatly reduce the troubles that you may expect if you do it alone because agents are specialists in the market and the process. Furthermore, most agents don’t charge exorbitant fees, and even though paying an agent might seem like an extra cost, it is actually a bargain considering to the risk of loss if something goes wrong. Most agents will help you avoid the many obstacles that can derail your home ownership plans including the selection of a suitable financier.

Think about the long-term options

Urban areas are more dynamic than ever, and a suburb today may be a commercial hotspot in a decade or so. Thus, the aspects of a certain location which may attract you to own a home there today may not exist tomorrow. Sometimes, you may have a change of preferences due to changes in your circumstances like family structure or increase in the disposable income. It is important when buying a first home, to consider your future course of action when these changes occur.

In sum, buying your first home in a way that suits your needs can be a highly fulfilling process, but the opportunities for disappointment also exist. It all depends on the process you apply.