The following is a guest post from Nigerian real estate developer Michael Chudi Ejekam.

Buying a new home is an exciting venture whether you’re a first time home buyer or have owned houses before. It can seem overwhelming at first but if you break the process down and follow these step by step suggestions you’re sure to find the home that is right for you and fits your family requirements.

Get Preapproved for a Home Loan

According to realtor Collette McDonald of Collette McDonald & Associates your first step should be arranging your financing, “Know what you can afford and have the financing lined up before you even go online and look at a home.” Knowing your limits will make you an informed buyer and save you a lot of time and stress.

New Home Priority Checklist

McDonald also suggests, “Once you have determined what your price point is, the next step is to determine what is important for your criteria.” Make a couple checklists, one a list of things that are essential and then a list of things you’d like but don’t need. You should also make a checklist that pertains to the neighborhood as well. This will help you instantly narrow your selection and keep your new home priorities in check.

Realtor or Not

You do not need a realtor to buy a home but you may want one, especially if you’ve never purchased a home before. An experienced realtor can ease the entire process, saving you time and money. As McDonald points out, “Many buyers do not understand that hiring and agent, in most cases, will not cost them a dime. The buyer’s agency is covered in the marketing fees that the seller of the home pays.”

Look at New Homes

Now you’re ready to start shopping. If you have a realtor you can let them find homes that fit within your budget and criteria lists, but most people prefer to do a bit of shopping themselves. There are several great online resources for home searches such as

Make an Offer

Once you’ve found a home that fits your price range and criteria then it’s time to make an offer. Look at the value of houses in the area, how long the home has been on the market, any repairs you may have to make, any extras in the home that make it worth more. You’ll want to make an offer that will be a deal for you but not offend the seller.

Home Inspection

Once your offer is accepted you’ll want to have a home inspection. You don’t need a home inspection but it’s a way to hedge your bets as the offer is usually contingent upon a home inspection. This means that if the inspector finds huge problems you can back out of the offer. It also gives you a bargaining chip to get a discount or have repairs made before you close.

Close on your New Home

When buying a new home the closing is a tricky step filled with expenses and legal paperwork. A real estate attorney is a good idea, especially for first time home buyers, as they can guide you through the process. If you have a realtor they’ll also be able to provide a lot of assistance.

Buying a new home is a wonderful time and should be enjoyed. Eliminate the stresses of buying a home by following the steps above one at a time and not letting the entire process become overwhelming. Remember the key to finding a home you love is sticking within your budget and criteria checklists.