If you're planning to buy a home, you should be ready to spend some serious cash.
In addition to putting as much as 20 percent down, you also need to have enough in the bank to cover closing costs, moving expenses, repairs and the first few months' mortgage payments, all without draining your emergency fund.
Home buyers must also make high-stakes decisions about their budgets, ideal location and what they're willing to sacrifice if the price is right.
For first-time buyers especially, navigating this landscape can be overwhelming, so it's natural to retreat into what's comfortable and known. And that's where you can slip up.