Are you a first-time home buyer? Here are helpful steps to make your buying experience less stressful:

1. Check the selling prices of comparable homes in your area.

2. See what you can afford. Use a mortgage calculator to see what your payment would be.

3. Find out what your total monthly housing cost would be, including taxes and homeowners insurance.

4. Find out how much you’ll likely pay in closing costs. The upfront cost of settling on your home shouldn’t be overlooked. Closing costs include origination fees charged by the lender, title and settlement fees, taxes and prepaid items such as homeowners insurance or homeowners association fees.

5. Look at your budget and determine how a house fits into it. Fannie Mae recommends that buyers spend no more than 28% of their income on housing costs. Go past 30% and you risk becoming house poor.

Buying a house is a great way to build wealth, just leave room in your budget for maintaining your investment.