Noisy neighbors upstairs? Sick of living in mom and dad's basement? Or just want to take part in the American Dream? Whatever your reason for wanting your own home, taking the leap can be both exciting and daunting. Yet, according to a National Association of Realtors survey, you're not alone; the number of first-time homebuyers was about 47 percent of all home sales in 2009 [source: National Association of Realtors].
While thoughts of white picket fences and granite countertops might be dancing in your head, you don't want to be carried off by a dream and left holding a serious bill. This is probably one of the biggest purchases you'll ever make, so instead of making an impulse buy (like that pair of designer jeans you just bought), arm yourself with research and a few quality advisers. It can be the difference between years of loving the home you're in versus wondering how long until you can look for your next one.
Take a look at these 10 tips to get you started on your way to real estate bliss.