You’ve decided it’s time to buy your first home, but you know next to nothing about real estate. Everyone and their brother is trying to give you advice, but some of that advice contradicts other things you’ve heard. That’s not even counting everything you see online. In today’s market, there’s so much information out there that it’s hard to know what to believe. What you need is someone to help you discern fact from fiction. So let’s bust some myths and help you get to the bottom of all this information.

Myth #1: You’ll Save Money by Not Going with a Real Estate Agent

Many people think they can get a better deal if they don’t use a real estate agent, but the reality is that as an expert on local real estate markets who sees homes day in and day out will likely be able to save you from making a costly mistake. Real estate agents have plenty of experience watching out for red flags when viewing homes, not to mention expert negotiation skills. Since they’re familiar with the market, they can ensure you get the best deal and don’t end up paying more than the market value.

Myth #2 Real Estate Agents Will Do Whatever It Takes to Make a Sale

Even though real estate agents are paid by commission, it doesn’t mean they don’t have your best interests at heart. Realtors are held to high ethical standards and their practice is guided by rules and regulations. Agents make their living by word of mouth referrals and repeat clients. If they behaved unethically in the name of making a sale, they would be shooting themselves in the foot.

Myth #3 Wait to Get Your Pre-Approval Until You Find a Home You Like

If you wait until you find your dream home to seek pre-approval, you risk wasting your time. Having that pre-approval in your pocket before you begin your search will allow you to look for homes in your price range. Having a pre-approval in hand can also be a factor in how soon you can close on a home. But remember, just because you’ve been pre-approved for a particular loan amount doesn’t mean you should spend that much. Your real estate agent can help you figure out how much house you can comfortably afford and focus your search on homes that fit into your budget. It can be devastating to have your heart set on a home only to find out that your lender won’t approve a loan for that amount.

Myth #4 You Have to Have a Large Down Payment

If you’re still paying off your student loan, saving up for a 20% down payment on a home may seem like an insurmountable obstacle, but you don’t have to have 20 or even 10% down in order to buy a home. There is an ever increasing number of mortgage loans that offer low- or even no-money-down payments. FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loans are a popular financing option and require only 3.5% down. Your agent can help you shop around and compare all of your financing options.

Considering all the information available on buying your first home it can feel like an overwhelming task to sift through it all, but remember, your real estate agent can help. With the right realtor, buying your first home can be the exciting, rewarding experience you deserve. Happy house-hunting!