SONOMA — Buying a new home is a big decision, to say the least, so you should do everything in your power to ensure a wise choice. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Know what you want. Don’t go into your home search blindly—make a list of what you’re looking for in advance. This will also enable your Realtor to fine-tune your home search to reflect your specific needs and preferences.

Get a feel for properties. If you find a property you like, be sure to visit it at different times of day. Attributes like light and sound often differ throughout the day, so in order to get an accurate feel for the property, you’ll need to experience it in the morning, afternoon and evening.

Don’t neglect inspections. Even if you’ve fallen in love with a property, it’s important to know if it contains any hidden flaws. For a residential property, you should get a general inspection, a pest inspection and a roof inspection; for a country property, you’ll likely need a well and/or septic inspection as well. The more inspections you get, the more confidence you’ll have about the health of your new home.

Make a connection. Upon finding a property you’re interested in, write a letter introducing yourself to the seller. By creating a connection, this simple gesture can make a big difference as the seller considers multiple offers for their property.