Follow these tips if you're shopping for a new home

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Before you go out shopping for a new home, we have a few home buying tips from the pros who say you're likely already making the first mistake.

Jill Smith with Better Homes and Garden Real Estate Gary Greene says consider your location based on your lifestyle, and for those with children, there's a site to help you pinpoint the right school district for you.

"We do a lot of relocation. Especially for those who are relocating to Houston that aren't familiar to the area, Greatschools.org is an excellent resource," Smith said.

She also suggests to ask questions like how old is the roof? Has the home ever been flooded? You'll find these answers in the sellers disclosure, so make sure you get your hands on a copy before putting in an offer.

"Make sure you hire an agent that's comfortable with negotiating. There's some agents like myself that have a masters certified negotiation expert designation. We've been through the course negotiating specifically to real estate," Smith said.

And if you do find the home of your dreams, Smith said to find out the seller's time frame with closing or move out date.

"If you know there are going to be multiple offers, write a personal letter to the seller. I've had sellers take lower offers because of a personal letter," Smith said.

The number one mistake Smith says people make is thinking they can afford more or less house than they really can.

Pre-approval through a lender is key before you start looking.

You should also shop around for the best interest rates. A quarter of a percentage point can save you thousands of dollars over the years.
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