Buying a home is a life-changing decision. For many people, it’s the largest investment they will ever make. It also represents the realization of our goals and dreams for the security it provides.

Despite this importance, information in the world of real estate is not always accurate.

Let’s take a look at some myths so you can ignore them and be on your way to real estate bliss.

Myth No 1: You must have excellent credit

In reality, a conventional loan requires good to excellent credit. There are other options, however. For example, you may qualify for an FHA loan, which is less stringent on its lending requirements. This kind of loan requires a score around 600 or even below.

Myth No. 2: You can sell/buy a house without an agent

Technically, this is true, but the pros of hiring an experienced and trusted real estate agent heavily outweigh your cost saved by going it alone. If you’re selling your home, for example, there’s a lot of heavy lifting. You will have to worry about marketing and closely reviewing every legal document that comes your way. If you’re buying a home you’ll want to work closely with an agent who can negotiate, research and advocate on your behalf.

Myth No. 3: The only upfront funds I’ll need goes toward the down payment

If only this were true. Remember, you will also have closing costs to worry about and a good faith deposit once you begin escrow. You can also anticipate paying other fees, taxes and costs for inspection reports, insurance and other things. I’ll be happy to go over these line by line with you.

Myth No. 4: You have no kids so schools don’t matter

The neighborhood is important, and schools are part of that equation. Higher-performing schools are tied to property value, which is great for you both in the short- and long-term. Schools are also a sign of a good, vibrant community. Schools aren’t the only amenities you should set your eyes on – the neighborhood’s parks, restaurant scene, proximity to your job and the like are also pluses.

Myth No. 5: The first step is start looking for a home!

Slow down, my friend. I know it’s tempting to look at open houses and search through Zillow for your next home. It’s OK to do in moderation, but it could also waste time. I recommend going through the preapproval process first and speaking to an agent for an overview of what to expect. It is to your advantage to know as much as possible before beginning your search. For example, a thorough application will give us a better idea of how much home you can afford and other financial information that is invaluable during your search.

Now that the air is cleared, I wish you much success on your journey. As always, I am here for any of your questions or concerns. I’ll be happy to go over any of these points with you so you have a clear understanding of what to expect.