If you are like most people, you probably have been dreaming of the day that you could own your own home for a long time. Finally, that day has arrived. The process of shopping for your first home can be incredibly exciting and a little bit scary. After all, buying a house is a huge investment.

Because so much money is at stake, it is important to keep a level head throughout the process. Although it is easy to get caught up in the excitement, you should try to view things from a practical standpoint so that you don’t make any bad decisions. Before buying your first home in Maryland, be sure to check out these tips:

1. Know how much you can really afford. Probably the biggest mistake that people make when they buy their first home is overextending themselves financially. It is easy to forget that there are a lot of other expenses that you need to take into account besides just your mortgage payment. Along with paying your mortgage, you will also have to pay for homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, utilities, upkeep and maintenance, and other expenses that you may not have anticipated. It is important to carefully weigh all of these costs when determining the maximum amount you can spend on a home.

2. Be open-minded. Another big mistake that people make is focusing too much on appearances. Everyone wants a home that is stylish. However, looks shouldn’t be your only consideration. A lot of times, a home that looks rundown or outdated can be quickly updated just by adding a fresh coat of paint or replacing the flooring. Don’t allow yourself to miss out on a great home. You may be able to get a fantastic deal on a property that can easily be updated to match your vision.

3. Always get a home inspection. Anytime you make an offer on a home, make sure that it is contingent on having the home professionally inspected. An inspection can spot any problems that may wind up costing you a lot of money to fix after you move in. This can keep you from buying a home that turns out to be a money pit.

Before you buy your first home in Maryland, it is important to familiarize yourself with these tips. By doing so, you can minimize the chances of making some of the most common mistakes that first-time home buyers make.