6 steps to choosing a first home First-time home buyers get a lot of good advice on finances before they buy their first home: They should be pre-approved for a mortgage, have cash on hand, and take a look a property taxes. But before that, buyers should consider what they will look for in a home. Here are 6 considerations that will help you make the decision. 1 Take the long-term view. Young buyers should remember that their first home probably won't be their last. In fact, one way to financial success is to buy a starter home that will appreciate and then sell it later for a profit. Use the profit to buy your next home; one suited to your needs at the moment. 2 Choose substance over style. Granite counter tops should never be the make-it-or-break-it feature of a first home. That is just style. The best home is one that suits lifestyle needs. Put substance ahead of style every time. 3 Find the right size home. Big is not necessarily better. In fact, a big home can be a burden for two working people. Consider the time you will spend cleaning, furnishing and decorating a home for a party of 20. In the same way, tiny is not necessarily better. Since a first home is rarely the last home, consider how much the home will be worth at resale. Will a tiny home be difficult to sell? Making an investment work over the long-term is a better idea than going with a trendy choice. 4 Shun fashion. A graceful Victorian home or the mid-century modern with potential might be the ultimate dream of a young person fascinated with architecture, but it probably isn't the best first-time buy. Think about the investment in maintenance and unforeseen problems that can crop up in an older home. Fixer-upper shows can mislead buyers into thinking that a home that needs a lot of work is a great buy. Even for the handy-man, a fixer-upper may not be the right choice, even if the price is right. Consider how long the improvements will take, then double the estimate in time and dollars. Will that be acceptable? 5 Buy location not just bricks. It doesn't matter how great the house, if it is located in an area with bad schools, high crime, and a run-down house next door, the house won't be worth as much at resale. Even if you don't have children, consider the school district. A great school district increases the number of interested buyers at sale. At the same time, be open to a good location outside your preferred neighborhood. 6 Choose an expert then listen. Find a real estate agent, then listen to his/her advice. The agent will advise you on price, negotiation, value, and possible pitfalls. There is no substitute for having a good agent on your side.