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Are you a first-time home buyer eager to get into the market? Here are steps to take to help you decide whether you're ready to take the plunge.

1. Check the selling prices of comparable homes in your area. Use our see home value to see prices in the area your looking at See Homes Value

2. See what you can afford. Use our 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. To get a feel for the maximum amount you should spend, including taxes and insurance, use our Mortgage Calculator detailed report In some areas, what you'll pay for your taxes and insurance escrow can almost double your mortgage payment. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average yearly premium can range from $477 in Utah to $1,372 for unlucky Texans.

To get an idea of what you'll pay in insurance, pick a property in the area where you want to live and make a call to a local insurance agent for an estimate. You won't be obligated to get the insurance, but you'll have a good idea of what you'll pay if you buy. For an idea of what you'll pay in taxes, Zillow publishes property-tax information for homes all over the country. Just remember that exemptions and the intricacies of local tax law (such as Florida's Save Our Homes value cap) can create differences between what a homeowner is currently paying and what you can expect to pay as a new homeowner.

Use our See Home Value widget for this. What's your home worth?

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. You can see what closing costs average in your state by looking at Bankrate.com's annual closing cost survey.

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 much past 30% and you risk becoming house poor.

6. Talk to reputable real-estate agents in your area about the real-estate climate. Do they believe prices will continue falling or do they think your area has hit bottom or will rise soon?

Homes Magazine provides real estate services to home buyers, home sellers, real estate agents and brokers. Home buyers can search homes for sale and land for sale and other real estate property listings at Homes Magazine. Homes Magazine offers home buyers alternative real estate searches by city, price, bedrooms, bathrooms, our real estate digital magazines online and by iPad and iPhone apps.. Home buyers searching for acreage and lots can also find land for sale. Our real estate listings include property details such as photos, virtual tours, bedrooms, baths, location and detailed descriptions. You can find all types of property listings for sale, including houses, condos, land, acreage, and new homes. Home sellers can get real estate tips , find a real estate agent or broker, get a free home evaluation estimate, get information on local real estate market conditions. With informative real estate selling tools at their finger tips, home sellers should contact a real estate agent or broker in their local market to sell their home. Real Estate Agents and Brokers can leverage the affluent home buyer and home seller audience of Homes Magazine to advertise listings, win more listings and find high-end, qualified home buyers and sellers.