So you want to buy a home?

Growing up with two parents who work in real estate, I’ve learned a thing or two about good property investments. (I even bought my first home with some of my bat-mitzvah money when I was 17.)

Now 30, with many of my friends making first-time home purchases, I’ve had many of them come to me for advice.

Here are my top three tips for home-buying success, whether it’s your first place in NYC – or an investment property in Miami.

1. Don’t show your cards.

Hardwood floors. Stainless steel appliances. Laundry in the unit?!?! It’s difficult to not get excited when you walk into your dream home (or in my case, New York City apartment). While it’s nice to pay a compliment or two to the current homeowner (“You have a beautiful home”) - showing too much excitement can translate into desperation and will create less bargaining power for you when it comes time to negotiate. Instead, keep a check-list of your must-haves and nice-to-haves, and feel free to reference it any time you’re feeling fragile.

2. Do your homework.

I shopped for a year before buying my NYC apartment. While that doesn’t have to be your trajectory (and I hope it’s not) – it’s important to do your research before jumping in excitedly (see tip #1). What did the apartment next door sell for 5 years ago? What are the real estate, HOA and maintenance costs? Does the building have a savings fund in case of unexpected assessments? Does your building own the air rights to the building next door so you never have to worry about losing your view? Is the building close to a bridge or tunnel, where oncoming traffic might be noisy? Ask the right questions, even if there are a hundred (there are at least a hundred).

3. Get Insured.

A home is often the biggest investment a person will make in their lifetime, so it’s important to protect it. One pleasant surprise I encountered when I bought my home in NYC was that the price of home insurance was less than I expected. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average insurance premium in New York is $1,213/year (only two hundred higher than the national average, $1,034). One company that provides even more discounts is Allstate, including a 10% welcome discount. You can learn more about how an Allstate Agent can offer advice and help protect your biggest investment here.

This post was written as part of the Allstate Influencer Program and sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are mine. As the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, Allstate is dedicated not only to protecting what matters most–but to guiding people to live the Good Life, every day.