If you’re buying a home for the first time, you may be overwhelmed by the process. While there is an abundance of quality real estate in Florida, you want to make sure that you take the proper steps for what is bound to be the most valuable investment in your life. The following tips can help you prepare, while also allowing you to avoid any potential issues.

Bankrate recommends checking your credit score before shopping around for a mortgage. Not only will your credit history determine whether you’re approved for a loan, it will also have an impact on how much interest you’ll need to pay. If you notice any inaccuracies or errors, contact the credit bureau right away to have them removed from your record.

You also want to bring together the biggest down payment you can manage. This will lower the cost of monthly mortgage payments, thereby making home ownership more affordable overall. If you’re having trouble saving, track your spending and look for areas where you can scale back, such as entertainment. You can then take this money and put it towards your down payment.

The Balance also highlights the importance of a home inspection. Serious issues, such as those affecting the foundation or the roof, may cause you to think twice about real estate. It may also lead to negotiations with the seller, who may be willing to take money off or perform the necessary repairs before the closing. In any case, it’s crucial to have this information before buying a home so you know exactly what you’re getting.