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The Experience of People Around You
When you start looking for a home, the first thing you find is people with a lot of opinions. It's important to ignore everyone except those who provide grounded advice. Family and friends who have bought one house in their lives probably don't know all of the important details of today's home-buying process. People who have worked in real estate, home improvement and title industries for years probably do know their stuff, so listen to them. When you pick a Realtor, pick one that comes with solid recommendations from around the area and years of successful representation among buyers: It's far too easy to find a Realtor that's just in it for a quick buck.
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The Size of the Home You Need
Never—no matter how tempting it is—buy a bigger space than what you currently need (expected family growth included). A big house just means there is more space to maintain, more utility bills to pay and more things that could go wrong. So think about where you have lived before, and how much space your belongings really require. If all of the homes you are looking at are larger than you need, consider looking at condos or townhomes.