Due diligence is the ultimate weapon in any home buyer’s arsenal. Use these 6 solid tips before you go house hunting to find the right home for you.

Buy if You Can Stick Around

Buy a home only if you plan to live there for a series of years. The heavy price paid for both buying and selling a home means you may be eating a small fortune in losses if you move again too quickly. Make sure you really want to live in new digs for more than a few years.

Don’t move when prices are falling. Wait for a bottoming out of prices or simply move when you see an uptick but only if you have a long term approach to living in your new spot.

Get Your Credit Game in Order

Fix any bad credit issues before buying. Clean up your credit history to secure a mortgage for your new home. Pick up copies of your credit report. Look over this report with a discerning eye to catch any errors. Address these mistakes. Pay off any smaller debts and keep making smaller payments on large debts to prove your credit worthiness.

Contact a Home Inspector

Hire a professional home inspector who can point out potentially pricey repairs that you may need to make in the future on your new home. Decide if the cost you’re paying is fair and worth the long term investment you’re making.

Pick Your Ideal Home

Although you may have a spectacular dream home in mind unless you have the means to afford it you’re better off with buying your ideal home. Be practical.  Buy a home which fits your needs and budget. If you are dreaming big start a home business or an investment venture which can boost your net worth over time.  As a rule buy a home which is worth 2 and a half times your annual salary to fit the purchase within your budget.

Even though buying a large house with bells and whistles may sound appealing to you looking at your mortgage will make you think otherwise.

If you want to do the math search for an online calculator which computes what you can afford based on your expenses, debts and income.

Buy with Good Schools in Mind

This tip applies to couples with or without families. If you move into a district with respected schools you have a great bargaining chip when it’s time to sell. Families with school-aged children have the added bonus of sending their children to good, local schools for free.

For a majority of home buyers buying in a district with great schools is a priority. Increase your home’s property value by buying in such districts.

Contact Professionals

Even though you can research real estate online, contact a realtor to find the home which best fits your needs.  Using a professional agent leverages your knowledge instantly. Hire a realtor who has a proven track record of selling in your prospective neighborhood.