This is a guest post by Max Smith, one of our partners in the Down Payment Movement. Read about his personal experience buying a first home below. You can see him talk about his experience on video at his website, MaxMyMoney.org

There were many things that happened throughout my process of home buying. Some were awesome, some were not so great and some were frustrating. In this post I wanted to share a few recommendations on what to do and what not to do.

DO: Create Zillow and Trulia accounts

Go to zillow.com and trulia.com and create accounts. These sites are useful because you can put parameters such as square footage, number of beds/baths, zip code and other pertinent information. They make it super easy to find a home that matches what you want.

DON’T: Obsess on these home sites and become “home-verwhelmed”

With the sheer amount of homes, buttons, heading and LOTS of information on these sites it becomes quite easy to stay on these sites all day.

I was on a social media hiatus during this time and I would spend three to four hours each day searching, taking notes, dreaming of what “could be.”

Don’t be like me. Spend 30 minutes a day. Take some notes on, perhaps, a few you want to consider and move on. Half an hour is enough time to find at least three or four homes that fit your wants and needs and that is sufficient.

I became “home-verwhelmed.” Yes, I made up that word. I was overwhelmed and became obsessed in an unhealthy way with these sites. Use them for their info and only spend a set time each day on them.

DO: Be patient, because your heart will be broken multiple times 

I looked at ten different homes in one Saturday. I was enamored by nearly all of them. I started thinking about submitting offers to a few and by the time Wednesday of the next week hit a few were already “sale pending!” After a week, all the ones I was seriously considering were pending a sale.

I had my heart shattered about 15 times before I found my home sweet home.

Stay optimistic. Take heart. Your home sweet home will come; it may take a lot more time than you expect. But it will come.

DON’T: Set your heart on one home

For all the reasons stated above, it is unlikely you will be able to buy the first home you see and enjoy. If you do, contact me I want to hear about your process and how you did it!

MY STORY: How long did I wait to hear back? 22 Days!

I walked into a home and I thought “this may be the one.” After seeing the pink paint and pink tile in the bathroom and cabinets straight out of the Sears catalog for 1973 I was in love. Well, not quite but I had a vision and I knew how to execute it.

I submitted the offer and thought about one week is sufficient time for them to respond to me.

Oh boy, was I wrong.

One week went by and I felt a small amount of apprehension. Two weeks went by and I began to think “this may not happen.” I became saddened. THREE WEEKS later and still no response. I wanted to pull my hair out in frustration because I had already set my heart on this home (which did not help).

22 DAYS LATER I RECEIVE A RESPONSE. AND IT WAS “YES!”

I was so excited, to say the least. My dream of home ownership was becoming a reality after many months (and years) of dreaming. I felt like a “real” adult and life was just beginning.

Everything was new, fresh and authentic. I feel rather blessed to go through the ups and downs of this process because now I can share with YOU how to navigate the, at times, turbulent home buying experience.

Conclusion

Today, I still have that home and it has treated me well.

I know I am at the starting line of life.

This was a BIG win for me and I look forward to helping others with their BIG win as well.

What questions about the process do you have? How was your first home buying experience? Any other things to do and not do? Happy home buying!

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