The average age for first-time home buyers in the U.S. is around 33, a relatively young age for such a big life choice. Buying your first home at any age can be a stressful and time-consuming experience. Here are some tips to buying your first home.

1. Draw up a hard budget and stick to it.
What is your ideal price range? To help you get started, use an online mortgage calculator to determine the maximum monthly payment you can afford based on the price of the home after youput down a down payment and over a 30-year-mortgage.

2. Make a short list of your non-negotiables.
What features would you want in a house?

3. Use an experienced realtor who knows the area and the market.
Your realtor can make or break your home buying experience. If you know where you want to live, try and get a realtor referral.

4. Check out comparable homes in the area to be sure you are on track.

5. Ask the realtor about expected closing costs.
Closing costs, which don’t include your personal packing and moving costs, can vary widely. Typically, they include the cost of hiring a real-estate attorney to look over your buyer-seller agreement and a home appraiser to evaluate the home before the sale, which is typically paid by the buyer.