While many first-time home buyers assume that buying a house is a straight-forward process, the reality is there’s a long list of expenses associated with it. And if you’re working with a limited budget, you have to be extra cautious.

5 Strategic Ways to Save Money

Your home is probably the most expensive possession you’ll ever own. Most people are aware of this, but few first-time buyers are familiar with the additional costs and ongoing expenses that come with purchasing a house.

If you want to save money and make home buying less expensive, there are some simple yet strategic actions you can take.

1. Buy Near an Up-And-Coming Area

One of the best investment decisions is buying near, but not in, a hot neighborhood. Sometimes it’s just not practical or affordable to buy in the hottest communities, but looking nearby might be the best move. You can often save 20-30 percent on the purchase price. And most importantly, you’ll see faster appreciation rates.

To save even more money, consider purchasing a house near a hot neighborhood that also needs a little bit of work. You can then update and renovate a little bit at a time. This saves you money up front and allows you to control your costs.

2. Avoid Standard Commission

Real estate agents do a lot to help their clients find the perfect house, negotiate a fair price, and walk through the legal aspects of closing. In return, they generally receive a 3 percent commission ($9,000 on a $300,000 house). There are, however, ways to save in this area.

One unique option is to use a service like SimpleShowing, which actually refunds the buyer 1.5 percent of the purchase price at closing. Depending on how much house you’re buying, this can…