By Laura McCamy

Buying your first home is one of the biggest investments you will make in your lifetime.

With housing prices on the rise in many US markets, it can be difficult to find a home that fits your family’s needs without mortgage payments that will break your budget.

According to Holden Lewis, a mortgage analyst at Nerdwallet, timing your home purchase correctly — like during the winter or before you get married— can save you money.

Lewis has followed the mortgage market since 2001 — through the first housing boom, the 2008 crash and its aftermath, and the recovery. Here are his practical tips to help you figure out the right time to buy a home.

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