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The real estate market is obviously a large and complicated process. There are various steps you need to complete before you actually start making offers on homes, but we’re going to break down the basics as they apply to first-time home buyers. Look closer here

Here are the important basics you will need to know when you start buying a home.

Understand the process

You can buy a home without understanding the steps involved, but you’ll likely have to make a lot of compromises along the process. Firstly, you should understand every step in this process and make sure you’re willing to take on that kind of commitment to your future.

The process of buying a home will take months to complete and even then, surprises can pop up. Some states will require you take a course on basic home buying and finance before you start this process.

Get pre-qualified for a loan

Before you start shopping for your home, talk to a real estate agent about getting pre-qualified for a loan. This is a process during which your income, debt and other financial information is used to determine how much you can afford to spend on a home. The lender will also check your credit to make sure you are a good candidate for a loan.

Look at the house with an expert

When you start looking at houses, look into getting help from experts in the field. At the very least, get help from someone who has already been through this process. You can use an internet service like Zillow to find people who are selling houses in your area – try to find a local person selling houses before you start looking at homes online.

Get pre-approved

This is another important step in the buying process. Before you make any kind of offer on a house, you need to get pre-approved for a loan. If you don’t, you’ll have to put down a large amount of money, which is a risky proposition. If you don’t get pre-approved, you might end up having to come up with the money for an expensive down payment if the seller decides not to accept your offer.