After you are pre-approved for a mortgage, the fun part starts. It is now time to find the home of your dreams. As you head out, it is important to keep in mind how much you can afford. The whole process can go really fast, and it becomes very easy to get caught up in the moment. Things to keep in mind as you hit the market:\nThe magic amount you want to spend\nRemember, the amount that you were pre-approved for is the maximum amount you can spend. It is the maximum for a reason. It is the maximum risk that the lender is willing to take on by loaning you money. This doesn’t mean it is the amount you should spend. Take some time before the hunt begins and figure out what you want to spend. The worst thing that you can do is to be a homeowner and nothing else (unless – that is what you want of course!). If you love to travel or have an expensive hobby make sure you factor that into your monthly budget. I found it useful to ask the lender to provide me with three or four “what if” scenarios. I asked what my monthly mortgage payment would be at 3 different amounts. I played with each scenario to see how the payment would work with my existing financial commitments, desires and lifestyle. \nFind a good real-estate agent that you trust\nI found it very useful to use a real-estate agent in my house hunt. They are experts and have helped many first time homebuyers like you. The agent was easily able to point out many features in the homes that I visited. The nice thing about buying your first house is that you don’t have to pay the real-estate agent a commission fee. The seller is responsible for paying the commission to both real-estate agents involved in the deal. \n\nSlow down and have fun\nHave fun with this process and remember it is not a game or a race. I remember walking through a house and thinking “this is the one”. I had to have the house no matter what. It was a little bit more than I had planned to spend, so my real-estate agent suggested that we offer a lower amount. The house sold to someone who was willing to pay more. I was so disappointed, but continued my hunt. A couple of days later, I ended up finding a house that was in my price range, that I loved much more than the first house. It is like the old saying “there are many fish in the sea” if one doesn’t work out, there will be many more for you to choose from!