As the housing market continues to reel from the effects of a financial crisis more than a decade ago, we are only just beginning to see residential property values recovering. There’s never been a better time to purchase your ideal home than now. If you wait much longer, prices may reach highs unseen since the early 2000s.

Still, first-time buyers will want to consider several factors before they start practicing their signature for the signing papers. After all, it’s a serious investment to enter into, and one that has to be approached properly, and with the right timing.

Your ideal house is out there somewhere, but if you want the freedom to pounce when the time is right, you need to be ready. Here are the 5 practices that will help you snag the perfect home.

1.  Be Realistic about Your Budget, Always

There are few worse feelings than buyer’s remorse, especially if the high costs bite into every other facet of your life. That’s what can happen if you choose a dream home that’s outside of your budget. You’ll begin resenting the home for the freedom that you’ve lost by pouring more money than you could into it, and now that’s frustrating that you need to live with every day.

Don’t make this mistake! Don’t make your perfect home into a cage by choosing one that’s more than you can afford. Find a homes that’s also perfectly within your budget.

Set up a workable price range with a workable understanding of how much you’re going to lose in the rest of your life if you spend too much. You need to do so by considering the kind of lifestyle you lead.

2.  Go Location Shopping

The next step to finding your ideal home is to look for the right places. Even a smaller home than you’ve planned on can be in such an enchanting location that you want to make more use out of the outdoors, anyway! You may want to find cities or neighborhoods with a low crime index as well as growing wages and a steadfast economy. These so-called “emerging markets” are perfect regardless of the median selling price.

Of course, with such an attractive atmosphere, these places have some of the highest property prices. To find a match, it’s only a matter of finding the best deals that won’t leave you bankrupt in the long run.

3.  Find a Licensed Realtor

The advantage of having a licensed agent is that you won’t spend too much time and money trying to find your ideal home and making price comparisons. You may want to ask people around if they know any realtors who can help you navigate the complex world of real estate buying. Personal friends are always going to give the most honest answers.

4.  Ask for an Open House Visit

If a property is up for sale, you will need to pay it a visit. Sellers will normally hold open house showings in order to attract buyers faster, and you need to take advantage of each one. An open house is also a great chance for you to perform a firsthand assessment of the property.

This is also a chance for you to ask the seller or their brokers important questions about the property. This allows you to negotiate a better deal later on.

5.  Inspect the Property

Before closing the deal with the seller, conduct due diligence to properly secure a smooth move-in.This involves precautions like pre-purchase inspections to see if the home has any structural defects or other issues.

For this, opt to have a third-party contractor to do the job for you. You can find one in your chosen location. In Australia, for instance, Building Inspections Sydney performs these types of inspections. You should be able to find well-reviewed building inspectors wherever there is a housing market.