NEW YORK (MainStreet) — For most people, buying their first home quickly changes from excitement to fear with daunting new terminology to learn, contracts to sign and obligations that may last 30 years or more. Many decide it's too much and take what I call the ostrich approach: they more or less bury their heads in the sand, taking the path of least resistance, often spending less than an hour examining a property before making an offer.
Almost always, they realize they've made avoidable mistakes costing thousands of dollars or more. For a typical buyer, it's well worth spending an extra 20 hours of time to save more than $10,000.
If you follow these ten critical rules of buying a first home, you'll put yourself in a position to avoid many of the common (and often expensive) traps. You'll also have the satisfaction of knowing you're in the minority that bought a home the smart way.
One caveat before beginning: I saved the most important and easiest rule for last so you'll remember it. These are the rules professional real estate buyers use that you should also follow.