You’ve saved your pennies and are interested in buying a home for the long haul: with low interests rates, you figure you can’t find a better time. What’s next?

1. Find a Lender: Make sure to get qualified for a loan– this will help you set a price range and prepare for any changes in spending you need to make.

2. Research Real Estate Agents: Talk to family and friends to get referrals for agents; do research on each agent and interview at least three. You want to make sure that your agent will work hard for you and will understand your needs. Putting time into finding the right one will benefit you in the long run.

3. Educate Yourself: Read up on the buying process and make sure you understand how to make the best purchase.

4. Shop: Read about areas you might be interested in and research their crime rates and school districts. Drive through neighborhoods during the day, at night, and on weekends to see how things look at each time. Check out neighbor’s property and commercial space in that neighborhood to see what you like best.