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      Tips for buying a home this real estate season

      Buying a new home is probably the biggest purchase a person will ever make. That's why it's so important to know the right way to go about it.

      Marquette realtor Liz Grill writes a blog that provides tips for new buyers. At the top of her list: get pre-approved by a lender.

      "I always say you wouldn't go out grocery shopping without knowing you had enough money to buy what's in your cart. The same thing holds true," says Grill. "You don't want to be disappointed after you've done all the leg work of finding a new home and then find out that you can't get it."

      "Coming to the bank before you start looking for a house, you can assess your income, your assets, your credit, and your debt, and give you a good idea of what programs are available to you," says Mike Mattila of River Valley Bank. "They can really set the price range for what homes you can purchase."

      After you've been approved, it's time to start looking. Liz recommends starting your search online and then paying the homes a visit, keeping in mind what you want versus what you need in a home.

      "If we've done our homework and we have a good home inspection and you've really focused on the bones of the house, you'll have a good buying experience," Grill says.

      You're going to want to check the plumbing and heating systems to make sure everything works. This is more important than focusing on the attractive extras in a home.

      And last, but certainly not least--location, location, location. It's the one thing about a house you can't change.