Buying a home is a dream that many Americans realize during their lifetime, but can also take a great deal of planning and preparation. Before you buy a house you need to make some decisions and prepare yourself financially and with the right professional assistance to help you through the process. Here are some tips to help you get ready for the home-buying process.

Hire a Real Estate Professional

It can be quite beneficial in a new situation to surround yourself with individuals who have experience. And when you are buying a house you should seek the expertise, knowledge, and assistance of a real estate broker. But before you select a real estate professional you should shop for one to find out how they each work, their personality, and how many years of experience of transactions they have completed. 

Hiring a real estate professional is important because they can be your eyes and ears during the process to help you successfully find the home you want and need and get it at a reasonable or great price. An experienced agent is priceless in terms of helping you negotiate a purchase price or terms of the sale when you find the home you want. And keep in mind your real estate agent's commission is shared and paid for with the seller's agent commission, so you don't have to pay out of pocket for their services.

Complete a Financial Analysis

Another important area you should look at before you buy a house is your finances and your credit situation. If you don't know the state of your credit report and its score, you can find out for free by contacting one of the three main credit bureau companies. They have online access for you to view and print your report. 

It is also a good idea to look at your personal budget to see how much you have to put toward the purchase of a house. This includes how much you have for a down payment or earnest money, and how much you have to pay for the home's closing costs. Then, as you look at your monthly expenses and income you can determine how much you will be able to put toward your mortgage payment, homeowners insurance, and property taxes. Keep in mind with a house you will also be responsible for paying city charges for water, sewer, and trash pickup, which as a renter you have not likely had to pay for in the past.