Have you recently decided you are ready to purchase your first home? You probably feel a mix of excitement and anxiety. That is natural for a decision of this magnitude. It is fun, but overwhelming at the same time. While there is no exact formula to ensure a decision free of error or regret, there are steps you can certainly take to reduce the risk of buyer’s remorse. Here are just a few helpful tips for the first-timer.

Figure Out What You Are Comfortable Spending, Not What You Can Afford

What you can technically afford to spend on a home is not necessarily what you should spend. In the name of keeping up with the Joneses and getting as much house as possible, many first-time buyers take on a mortgage they come to regret. In all the enthusiasm that comes with buying a home, they underestimate the effects of sacrificing everything to their house payment. It probably seems like a good idea at the time, but be careful. Be realistic about your lifestyle. If you live for your yearly vacation, don’t convince yourself you can cut it out. If it is important to you to save a certain percentage of your paycheck each month, don’t drastically reduce your contributions because you get seduced by a big house. If you are thinking about taking on a mortgage that is three times your monthly rent, bank that extra away for a few months to see how it feels.

Maintain a Balance between Now and the Future

When choosing the right home, it is important to think about both what you need now and what the future may hold. For now, a one-bedroom condo may be a good bet, but if you are not necessarily looking for the home you want to spend the rest of your life in, you might consider getting the two-bedroom if you can afford it, since that will probably be easier to sell down the line. If you are just married, and are convinced you want to have five kids, when you have yet to pop out one, you probably want to have at least two bedrooms, but hold off on stretching yourself too thin right now with a mortgage on a four-bedroom.

Get Priorities Straight

If you do not outline your priorities when it comes to the right home for you, you are starting off your search on the wrong foot. This may seem obvious, but many people in this position don’t give enough thought to what is most important. Write out a list of things your home must have, such as being a certain distance from your job. While it is possible the list could change as you search, don’t compromise on the things that you know are really important for the bells and whistles. Be realistic about what your budget can offer you. When you find a good home that meets your criteria, move on it. Don’t look at 50 more houses hoping you will find something better. Remember that nothing is permanent, and moving is always a possibility.

Kelli Cooper, writing for bradloans.com, enjoys blogging about all things real estate.