Buying your first home is considered by some to be the biggest sign of having reached adulthood and financial independence. When undertaking an investment of this size, it’s a good idea to follow helpful tips and tricks make the home buying process go smoothly.

Before you even start looking for a home, take time to seriously assess your personal finances. Be ready for not only a mortgage, but the on-going expenses of owning a home like property taxes, insurance and repairs. Your total housing expenses generally shouldn’t be more than 30% of your income – and in fact, mortgage lenders will look at this ratio during the approval process.

Get preapproved for your loan and you’ll know exactly what price range to search within. When you do finally start searching for a home, consider your other lifestyle costs like vacations, clothing, and entertainment in your total budget. Just because you are preapproved for a bigger mortgage doesn’t mean you can truly afford one.

Mortgage lenders will also be looking at your savings accounts to verify that you have at least a 20% down payment saved. There are a few government programs that assist with funds for first-time home buyers, so be sure to check with your lender to see if you qualify.

Managing your expectations with this tips will definitely reduce your anxiety and make your home buying experience more productive and much less stressful.