How To Buy a Home in 2022: Tips From a Real Estate Agent

The real estate market has been anything but ordinary in the past few years. Here's how to cut through the noise and land your first home.

This story is part of Power Money Moves.

During my time as a real estate agent, I was shocked by the amount of basic misconceptions that sabotaged first-time homebuyers -- sometimes preventing them from buying a home. 

But I've also been on the other side, a first-time homebuyer myself not long ago. And all my professional experience didn't protect me from crying tears of frustration and almost giving up. 

Buying a home can be challenging -- financially, emotionally and psychologically. 

But the right preparation, strategy and knowledge will make it easier. 

With mortgage interest rates on the rise and home prices sky high, diligence and strategic decision-making has become vital for potential homebuyers.

Here is my hard-earned advice for how to buy a house in 2022, based on what I've learned from being on both sides of the process -- plus a cautionary tale of one buyer's ordeal.

The real estate agent and lender you choose are extremely important to maximizing your homebuying experience. 

You rely on them to complete your purchase, and your choice of representation can have a significant impact on your budget and stress levels.

Your real estate agent should demonstrate their expertise before you sign anything. There should be an initial meeting where your needs and goals are discussed. 

You'll be led through the homebuying process and review some potential home options so that the agent can gauge your preferences. 

Remember that you are under no obligation to work with them until you sign an agreement. 

Though your relationship with your lender may not be as personal, you'll want to have a conversation and vet them, too, before formally agreeing to work together. 

Interview different real estate agents and lenders to gauge their experience and make sure you're compatible. 

Your agent should explain things thoroughly, be familiar with your desired locale and respond to you in a prompt and professional manner. 

Above all, you should trust them. Once you're under contract -- that is, you've signed the paperwork to purchase a home -- you're legally bound to your agent and lender, and it may be difficult, time-consuming and expensive to switch.