Buying your first home is both exciting and stressful. In the competitive world we live in, it can be taxing on the mind and body to go through the process of researching the neighborhood you would like to raise a family in, working with an ever-changing buyers market, dealing with the sellers mood, or any of the other variables that could crop up at any point during the buying process. Make sure you have an edge on the competition and keep these four bidding tips in mind before making an offer.

Set your max price and stick to it

Nothing is worse than being strapped for money and spending more than you bring in. Ensure you know what your limits are and meet with a mortgage broker to get pre-approved for a loan before you even start your home search. Calculate the highest price you can afford to pay, taking into account the cost of inspections, transfer taxes, closing fees, etc., while still having enough income to live on. When it comes time for bidding, you will know exactly what you can spend without stretching yourself too thin, or unknowing spending more than you can afford.

Shop around for an agent

You will rely on your real estate agent heavily when you decide to bid on a home. It is important to have an agent that will protect your interests, help you stand your ground or assist you in compromise, and most importantly, close the deal on your future home. Pay attention to anything that will contract from these necessities, such as an agent that provides you with listings outside of your budget and does not fit what you are looking for. If they do not actively listen to you and take into consideration your wants and needs from the beginning, they most likely will not be there to support you at the most crucial times in the buying process.

Know your market

Do your research. Knowing if it is a buyer’s, seller’s or balanced market will give you a huge advantage and allow you to make smarter, more confident decisions. You have the final say on the home and the offer you would like to make. Take some time to see what similar properties in the area have sold for in the last six months.

Find the good in the bad

We all have a vision of our dream home and we want our first house to be perfect. Finding the good in the downsides of a property, however, could be very beneficial to your budget. If there are issues with the property from the get-go, such as a leaky roof, lingering scents of cigarette smoke or any of these red flags, you can stipulate that the seller must take care of it before you move in, thus, saving you money in the long run. Alternatively, you could significantly lower your offer and save you money on the purchase cost. The bottom line: Anything that needs to be repaired or improved can be used to your advantage to mitigate a better deal.

Use these tools to navigate the waters of buying a house and get the most bang for your buck when you have found the one you want to call home. Happy hunting!