Buying your first home is an exciting and enjoyable experience. But it’s important that you remember to treat it as such as it’s easy to get buried under mountains of paper work, legal jargon and finances.

During the buying process and everything that leads up to it, be sure to pause, take a deep breath and enjoy the moment! You’re about to give your life a huge boost and take your first step on the property ladder.

To help reduce the stress and help you with buying your first home, be sure to print this checklist and use it to help you plan and check on your progress.

Securing your Finances

Buying a house is one of the biggest financial commitments that you’re likely to make. There’s plenty of risk involved and it’s difficult to avoid that fact, but you can help to reduce the financial risk and make your life and your family’s life easier in the event of any problems.

Book some Insurance

It’s a good idea to work out what insurance you’ll need and how much of your income this will take up. This will help you to work out what you can afford to pay for your mortgage and, ultimately, the property that you’ll be able to afford.

Whether it’s a requirement of the mortgage that you’re taking out or not, it’s a very good idea to get some life insurance as well as standard house and contents insurance. Life insurance will help to cover the cost of your mortgage in the event that the worst happens and you pass away. In that event, a huge mortgage bill is the last thing you want to be leaving your family! Take away that risk by getting some quality life insurance early on.

Research your Mortgage Options

If you have a healthy deposit, the mortgages that are available to you will be significantly easier to digest and you will have much more financial flexibility. However, there can be Government-assisted mortgage options which are designed to help those that have a smaller deposit. These options will mean that you can still afford to buy your first home, although your interest may be higher and the flexibility or your mortgage may be more restrictive.

Either way, be sure to speak with at least 3 different banks before making your decision. Consider also using the services of a mortgage broker. Often there is no extra charge to you and the broker can help you to compare the mortgage offers between multiple banks without any particular bias.

Choosing your Home

Choosing your home is the fun part! You can begin by browsing through the many real estate websites to get a feel of what homes are available for your price range.

In doing this, you can start to build a better picture of what is and isn’t within your price range, and make a list of exactly what you must have in a house as well as a list of what you would like but can do without if the house and the price is right.

Head to a number of open homes, even if the house isn’t exactly what you are after on first appearances. You may even find that the photos and description don’t do the house justice and you could warm to a house that you may otherwise have missed.

Open homes also give you a good opportunity to meet a real estate agent. They will be able to discuss your needs and are likely to have a number of other houses on their list that could be just what you’re looking for.

Preparing to Move

Have you made an offer and signed the deal? It’s not over yet! Make sure you remain involved with the whole process to ensure your moving in day goes without a hitch.

Real estate contracts allow you to enter the home for a final check before you fully take possession. Take your contract with you and be sure to check the agreed chattels - whether they include curtains, washing machines, garden furniture, etc. - all remain and are in good working order.

And finally, again, remember to enjoy the experience! If you are unhappy at all with any stage of the process, there are usually a number of professionals that are there to specifically help you to reduce your concerns and put your mind at rest. A good starting point will be your real estate agent. He or she will no doubt have sold a number of houses before and will be able to help explain the process or point you in the direction of someone that can assist.