HGTV’s “Flip or Flop” star Tarek El Moussa, isn’t a stranger to buying homes. Beyond purchasing houses to flip, this professional house hunter has almost 10 years of experience under his belt. He recently gave his best home-buying advice. 

Here are some of his top tips that we wanted to share with you.

1. Get pre-approved before shopping

Getting pre-approved for your loan rather than just getting a pre-qualification letter is important, says El Moussa. It will give you a better idea of what you can actually afford, as opposed to what you think you can afford, so you’re less likely to waste your time. Sellers will also take you more seriously with that letter.

2. Bring your poker face

Gushing about a home in front of the listing agent (at an open house, for example) just gives the seller more leverage when it comes time to negotiate. "Agents are amazingly good at reading emotions and using every bit of that knowledge to negotiate that last penny.”

Instead be vocal about the issues you see.

3. Stay on budget

El Moussa’s first home was a splurge that left him living in a bare home for nearly nine months because he couldn’t afford furniture. 

Now, El Moussa cautions first-time buyers against overspending, including taking into account Homeowners Association fees, taxes, special insurance expenses, which many forget about but can easily add up.

You’ll need to  understanding the monthly costs of owning, and making sure, before you move forward, that your income covers it all with enough left over to fund the life you want.

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