If you are a first-time home buyer in Tomball, Texas, here are some things you need to know. You should consider an experienced real estate agent to guide you through the competitive process of buying a home. Also, be aware that house hunting may require a lot of time and effort. And since your home is such a large investment, do some research ahead of time about neighborhoods you are considering, such as area schools, property tax and insurance rates, and crime statistics.

It is smart to create a comprehensive budget to decide how much to spend on your mortgage payment. In general, housing should not be more than a third of your gross income. Do not forget to include items like groceries, transportation, entertainment, and savings, as well as new expenses like property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and Homeowners’ Association fees. You also need emergency savings because home ownership has unpredictable expenses like urgent repairs.

Next, get lender pre-approval for your mortgage amount. This will narrow your home search and make you more competitive than non-pre-approved buyers. In general, you will need good credit, a steady job, and, likely, a down payment. Organize documents your lender will want to see in advance, such as federal income tax records, paycheck stubs, and credit card and student loan information.

The fewer homes that are on the market, the more competitive the process will be. So, when you make an offer on a home, realize that it may be rejected. Also, be careful not to overshare your thoughts with a seller or their agent when looking at a home, because it can damage your ability to negotiate if you make an offer.

Finally, once your offer is accepted, do not make any sudden financial changes, because your mortgage approval is based on your current financial situation. Therefore, do not do anything drastic like quit your job or make any large purchases. Also, understand that there are other things you must do once your offer is accepted, such as a having a professional home inspection, purchasing homeowner’s insurance, and being prepared for closing costs.