Buying your first home always starts as one of the most exciting events in one's life. Unfortunately, it quickly becomes stressful and agitating submitting paperwork for home mortgages, signing agreements, meeting deadlines, and writing checks. Sometimes, it makes you want to scream. Is it worth it to buy a home in Dallas?

Stop for a moment. Take a breath, and count to 10. We are here to make your life easier. It is not for everyone, but home ownership is important for most families and a significant investment for the future.

Here are a few items to consider as you buy a home for the first time:

Local Market: National trends tell us little about what is going on in our town or even our neighborhood. You can try to do this yourself online, but it is easier to ask a real estate agent for a local market report. We want to know the price of recent home sales, average days on market, and sale prices versus original listing prices.

Mortgage payments: Use one of the many online mortgage calculators to figure out what your payment would be if you purchased a home today. Advanced calculators will have a budget mortgage payment that includes insurance, property taxes, private mortgage insurance, and more.

Down-payment: Determine how much you have to put down on your new home. Your down-payment helps to determine final approval, but also may influence interest rates. Moreover, your monthly payments decrease with a larger down-payment. Here are some tips for saving for a down payment.

Closing Costs: Many first time home buyers overlook closing costs. These are upfront costs that include taxes, transfer fees, loan origination charges, home insurance, and more. Talk to your real estate agent about estimated closing costs, but a safe bet is between 5 and 6 percent of the sale price. Unless you work with Door, of course, then all real estate fees are $5,000 - no matter the price of your home.

Your Credit: Take a good, hard look at your credit. You can receive one free copy annually from the credit bureaus. Late payments, past due amounts, delinquencies, and accounts in collections will negatively affect your ability to receive a mortgage.

Pre-approval:  Buyers who are pre-approved for a mortgage have a negotiating advantage over those who are not. In fact, many agents will ask you to talk to their "mortgage guy" before signing you. It shows how much house you can afford and identifies you as a serious buyer.

If you would like to talk more about items to consider as you buy a home in Dallas for the first time, please contact us.