Buying a home is exciting and confusing and nerve-wracking, and it’s even more so if you’re inexperienced with the process. There’s so much to learn and consider! No worries… we’ve got some tips, via, to make the whole process less painful and stressful.

Set your range.

Leah Tozer, a partner and broker with New York-based luxury real estate firm Engel & Völkers, says it’s important for potential homebuyers to determine what they can comfortably afford. A realistic monthly budget should include all living expenses, not just the mortgage.

You can’t spend too much of your income on living expenses. In fact, experts recommend no more than 30% of your income should go to housing costs.

“At the end of the day, it’s more important for me to know [my clients] are not eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day and that they actually have a life.”

Use your network.

“[The real estate business] is referral based,” Otaki says. “The best way to find an agent is through your network of people.”

Ask your friends and family for advice and referrals.

Plan ahead.

Get your basics out of the way… your credit check, prequalification, and everything else you can complete.

An early home inspection is another way to avoid delays. Diane Greaves of Manalapan, New Jersey, experienced an unpleasant surprise when she and her husband put an offer on a home. They were getting ready to close, but hit a snag when the backyard shed, built 2 feet too close to a neighbor’s property, came into question. There was nothing to be done so the current owner had to rebuild the shed and wait for the home inspector to come and give the all clear, Greaves says.

Don’t be your own speedbump.

Even after moving into their dream home, some homeowners reflect on the homebuying process and see where they could have done things differently. Liebman says her clients are often so happy with their purchase that they wish they had started earlier. Being fearful of a complicated process, she says, is often what holds people back.

Many buyers look back and realize that better planning could have saved them money, or sped the process along.

There is a lot to know, and it can be an overwhelming process. Just plan well, get advice and support along the way, and don’t second-guess yourself to the point of stalling.