While we’re not strangers to adventure in the greater Yellowstone area, home buying is one you won’t soon forget. Finding your dream home is an exciting adventure that, at times, can feel all-consuming. On a good day, it’s fun to swipe through listings and visit every open house in your area, but after countless views and walkthroughs, and maybe a lost bidding war or two, the house hunt burnout becomes real.

In today’s real estate market, with low inventory dominating the conversation, the first-time homebuyer can often become frustrated if they are not prepared. We get it and are here to help. Here are a few ways to keep your stress and sanity at bay.

GET PRE-APPROVED FOR A MORTGAGE BEFORE YOU EVEN START…

The best way to show you are serious about buying a home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before you even start your search. The Teton County market is extremely competitive, knowing your budget before you start searching for a home will give you the confidence of knowing whether a specific neighborhood or area is within your reach.

This step will make it much easier to put offers on the properties you really love without any delay in waiting for your financing. You also don’t want to fall in love with a home and realize it’s outside of your budget.

MUST-HAVE, WISH LIST, AND DEAL BREAKERS…

Before you start looking, write down the non-negotiable features your new home needs. Then if a place doesn’t have everything on your must-have list, don’t go see it – no matter how curious you are.

Focusing on your list is a huge time saver and prevents ‘list creep’, which happens when you see shiny objects in each new house. Then all of a sudden you have a must-have list a mile long that includes a top tier chef’s kitchen when six out of seven days a week you order take out.

FIND THE RIGHT NEIGHBORHOOD…

 Find an area that meets your amenity requirements, think – commute, school district, etc. Spend some time exploring that neighborhood, visit it at different times and days of the week to get a clear picture of what living there would be like.

Look at the neighborhood the same way you look at homes, every neighborhood has its own charm and should be considered just as important.

FIND AN AGENT…

It is possible to find a house that you like without the help of a real estate agent, but it will take a lot of work, research, and legwork to find the right property. When you team up with a qualified professional realtor, you can hand most of the work over to them. Finding and buying the home of your dreams can be stressful and daunting, so it’s wise to get the help you need from the people who have the most experience.

The bottom line is that in a high-paced, competitive environment, any advantage you can give yourself will help you on your path to buying your dream home.