With record low interest rates and great housing affordability, it's a great time to buy a home. Buying your first home is one of life's most exciting experiences and one of the biggest financial decisions you'll likely ever make. So, take time to decide if you want a townhome, apartment or a detached home with a yard? What area would you like to live in? With the help of a realtor you'll find the home that's right for you. Here are some tips to help you become your own landlord.

Tip #1: Work with an experienced realtor

A good realtor will make the home-buying process easier, help you avoid common pitfalls and make sure you get the best value for your money. Your realtor can give you information about the community where you plan to buy including schools, shopping, community centres, parks and great coffee places. They'll make the complex understandable-that includes market trends, assessments, taxes, zoning, transportation and more.

Tip #2: Determine your budget

Before you start looking at homes, find out how much you can borrow. Being pre-qualified for a loan determines the housing price you can afford. It also allows you to move quickly when you find the right home. Your realtor and/or mortgage broker will assist you in determining the exact amount you can borrow, based on your income, expenses and current level of debt.

Tip #3: Make a "wants and needs" list

Your wish list should include both "must-haves" and "nice-to-have but can do without," in terms of features, style, size, and location. Sit down and make a list of everything you absolutely need in a home. Then list everything that you would like, but could live without. This list will help your realtor pinpoint your ideal home. You can always change this list as you start looking at homes and get a better feel for the market. Try to anticipate what your life is going to be like in the next few years. For example, are you planning to have children? Are you planning to change jobs? Would it be possible for you to work from home? Does the home you're planning to buy have enough space, or will it be too big in a few years?

Tip #4: Keep notes on the houses you view

Make notes on the positives and negatives of each home you view. It's important to write down what you thought of each home and give them a rating that will help you determine which home is best for you. Also look for features that may affect each home's resale value in the future. Your realtor can point out features that you should be paying attention to. Buying your first home is a very exciting time. Your realtor will help make this a fun and enjoyable journey. Happy house hunting!