Buying a house has taught me a few things… I totally agree with this article http://money.cnn.com/2013/05/09/real_estate/homebuyers-mortgages/ on one point, the loan comes first. If you purchase a house you’re buying a loan to eventually buy the house. You really don’t own anything except for risk, you own only what you’ve paid. Also, I know some people that are clueless about buying a house (I admit I was definitely once was this way) and in one of the most competitive housing markets (silicon valley) you can’t be novice. #1 Issue, you search for the house and ignore what you can really afford.. Just like this article said, the loan is the key. you don’t need to stay with it that person. That just gets you there. #2 Issue, As a buyer you need to be financially strong to compete in this market. In California we compete against cash offers all the time. Chances are you’re working with people with connections to buy the house you want. #3 Issue, And in my opinion, know WHY you’re buying a house. I recommend buy your house as an investment, not just as a place to live. Home ownership is on the decline, I was reading it’s like 65% nationally, 68% in silicon valley. More and more its becoming a business to own a home (an investment), not just a place to live. I believe it’s important to be in alignment of what you’re buying for, then I think everything else in this article is common sense. Because it’s so difficult, it requires a good Realtor, good Mortgage person and good buyer/seller.