Putting up a sizable down payment, holding back some cash reserves in the bank, and shopping smart so you can get the best deal on a home loan? [...] if you have the most expensive home, its value won't increase as much as will a low- to mid-priced home in the same neighborhood. The principle is, if you are buying the least expensive house on the street in a good location, the value has nowhere to go but up," said Katie Severance, co-author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Selling Your Home. Otherwise, the lack of comparable properties in the neighborhood could hurt you when it comes time to sell, Szot said. Keeping the house price to two or three times your income "is still a good rule of thumb for anybody - especially for the first-time home buyer," said Szot, who is also the owner of Keller Williams Lake Cities. Dad knows that when it comes to money, you never take the first offer. For many buyers, shopping smart for a home means haggling over the home price and seller concessions. The mistake people make today is they are busy, and may call one or two places on a referral. For too many of today's home buyers, their target price is 100 percent of whatever they can borrow, plus their down payment, said Michael Corbett, author of "Before You Buy."