The amazing time comes for many young people when, after years of tireless hard work, they can actually afford to *buy* an apartment. That’s right bb’s, once you’ve got a stable job, a kickass credit score, and are all-around slaying this whole adulting thing, you’ll finally be able to add homeowner to the list. And while choosing the perfect throw pillows and picking bedroom decor might seem like a top priority, there are a few important things you should consider when making this v. big decision.

1. Look beyond the paint. You may not love everything about your prospective new home, so it’s wise to factor in some minimal improvement costs. Just remember that while some renovations are relatively inexpensive and DIY-friendly (like painting), other more serious jobs are likely to cost an arm and a leg. Decide what you’d want to change before you buy and then do specific research.

2. Be prepared for the Subject Removal Period. Congrats! You’ve found the home of your dreams and it requires minimal renovation costs! Unfortunately, there’s still a lot to do before you actually get the keys. The Subject Removal Period acts as a safety net to protect both parties by requiring various inspections and completed proof of financing. Be prepared to put in some extra time during this week and let your employer know that you are on-call with your realtor.

3. Consider fees and maintenance charges. When assessing how much to spend on a new home, consider both high strata fees as well as maintenance fees. These costs can be expensive and can drastically affect the bottom line affordability of a mortgage. Understand exactly where these fees are going (swimming pool, parking space, building gym) and do some unbiased math to decide if it’s worth it.

4. Buy what you can afford. Even if your mortgage advisor thinks they can sell you a mansion at a phenomenal interest rate, it’s crucial that you’re honest with yourself when it comes to how much you can afford. Don’t spend your savings or dip into your retirement for a Bey-worthy penthouse.

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5. Location, location, location. While we all want the most glam apartments with the coolest state-of-the-art features, make sure you research your ‘hood. Prioritize your needs — whether it’s proximity to a dog park, grocery store, or transportation lines — make a list and check it twice.

6. Factor in closing costs. This amount typically shakes out to being roughly two to five percent of your home’s purchase price.

7. Don’t skimp on the inspection. Home buying will probably be the most dough you ever shell out at once and you might feel hesitant to spend another $400 on a home inspector. Spend it. Sure, it’s a little costly now, but a thorough inspection can end up saving you thousands down the road. Additionally, if they discover significant damage (and subsequent repair costs), it may cause you to reconsider the purchase altogether.

8. Prioritize mortgage and insurance. This may go without saying, but it’s helpful to get your ish together *before* the last possible second. Apply for a pre-approved mortgage and get quotes from insurance agencies as soon as possible to expedite the process.

9. Be patient. Once you’ve made the exciting decision to buy, you’ll probably be itching to find the perfect home, STAT. But keep in mind that finding the best space, in the proper place, at the right price will probably take some time. Relax and enjoy the house hunting process, and really hold out until you find that gem.

What are your tips for first-time home buyers? Tweet us @BritandCo.

(Photo via Getty)