In order to successfully buy a home during the busiest months of the year for housing, do your homework ahead of time. (Getty Images)

Looking for a home in the warmer months means entering the market at the busiest time of the year. For many eager homebuyers, it’s easy to overlook important basics while running from house to house in search of the perfect place. But forgetting these five items could increase costs and create buyer’s remorse:

Shop for the right mortgage and rate lock. Mortgages are complicated. Rates and terms vary from lender to lender, and not every product fits the needs of every buyer. That’s why it’s important for buyers to work with a housing counselor to understand the different types of mortgage products available, and then shop for the right mortgage from a variety of lenders.

Since January, the traditional 30-year mortgage rate has moved around quite a bit, trending from a low of 4.09 percent to as high as 4.3 percent. Most experts think that mortgage rates are more likely to increase over the next few months than decline. Work with a mortgage lender who allows you to lock in your interest rate. A rate lock sets the mortgage terms and protects the buyer if mortgage rates increase before the home is actually purchased.

[Read: 6 Ways to Boost Your Chances of Getting a Mortgage.]

Remember, there could be weeks or even a few months between when an offer to buy a home is accepted and the home is sold, and locking in a mortgage rate helps assure a buyer stays within her mortgage budget.

Importantly, not all lenders offer the same mortgage rate lock terms, so shop around to find a lender who will offer the most flexible options, including the ability to reduce your agreed-upon mortgage rate if prevailing rates have declined since you locked in the terms. This type of flexibility can be complicated, so work closely with your lender and housing counselor to understand the pluses and the minuses.

Pay attention to homeowners association documents. More than one out of five people live under a homeowners association, and there’s a good chance that if you’re buying a home this year, you’re joining the more than the 68 million people who already live under the rules of a homeowners association.

Operating primarily to ensure uniformity of design and maintenance standards, such as the type of storm door an owner can install or which siding color choice would be approved, HOA regulations are usually benign. However, some rules can be surprising. For example, some HOAs don’t allow an owner to erect structures on his property like tool sheds, above ground pools or certain types of backyard decks. Discovering these and other restrictions after purchasing the home can be frustrating. To help avoid surprises, buyers should ask early on if the home they’re considering is in an HOA. If so, be sure to read the HOA documents carefully.

Take a look at county development plans. Development is exploding in many suburban communities and once quiet, two-lane roads have become four-lane speedways. If the prospect of living close to a busy road isn’t appealing, it’s recommended that buyers review longer-term development plans that are under consideration by the county where the prospective home is located.

Local governments plan road improvements, new commercial construction and other development years in advance. Checking with the local government can uncover plans that may substantially alter today’s desirable, quiet neighborhood into something very different in just a few years. Ask your real estate agent to research county planning documents or visit the National Association of Counties for a list of counties and contact information to do it yourself.

[See: Should You Live Near a Cemetery, Casino or These Other Landmarks?]

Shop around for homeowner’s insurance. Every buyer who has a mortgage has to hold homeowners insurance. The insurance protects the homeowner from various losses, and assures that the lender’s collateral – the home – is protected, too. Most often, a homebuyer arranges homeowners insurance through the mortgage lender. However, shopping around can save money, especially if a buyer is bundling his or her insurance with auto insurance from the same provider.

Savings from bundling vary and bundling is not always less expensive than buying policies from different insurers. A housing counselor or lender would be best equipped to help you research options.

Get the best deal for movers. There’s no way to avoid it. Buying a home in the peak season – between May and September – generally means that you’ll pay more than other times of the year for professional movers. Although it doesn’t make too much sense to delay buying a home to avoid peak moving season, it does make sense to shop around for the best rate.

Make sure that the moving company you select provides an accurate estimate based on your home and your belongings. Don’t settle for an estimate over the phone based solely on the square footage of your home and the number of bedrooms. Real world factors such as the weight of your furniture (think pool table versus ping-pong table), the number of stairs in your home, the width of your hallways and more, can affect the cost of moving.

[See: Your Moving checklist: Don't Let These Details Slip Through the Cracks.]

There are several types of estimates that a moving company provides. The main estimates are classified as binding, non-binding and not-to-exceed. Each one has its pros and cons. Understand the details of each and then shop around multiple moving companies for the best price. Other tips for consumers ready for their next housing move can be found at the American Moving and Storage Association website.

Buying a home involves many different types of choices. Paying attention to these could save you money and time.

Tags: real estate, housing, home prices, housing market, mortgages, new home sales, existing home sales, pending home sales, home insurance

Marietta Rodriguez , vice president, National Homeownership Programs, leads NeighborWorks America's efforts to increase homeownership among low- and middle-income households. Under her leadership, over the last four years the organization and its affiliated network of nonprofits around the United States have helped more than 75,000 families become homeowners. Rodriguez has worked to promote homeownership at NeighborWorks America for more than 15 years.

Recommended Articles

Is there a Better Time to Sell a House?

Dima Williams | Feb. 18, 2020

Winter isn't keeping homebuyers at bay anymore. You may want to consider putting your property on the market before spring hits.

How to Find a Reliable Contractor

Teresa Mears, Devon Thorsby | Feb. 14, 2020

This expert advice will help you find a contractor to get your renovation done right.

Homebuyer Programs for Marylanders

Devon Thorsby | Feb. 12, 2020

These loan, payment assistance and education programs may help you buy a home this year.

6 Tile Trends for Your Home

Lisa Larson | Feb. 12, 2020

These popular tile options can introduce new colors, patterns and textures to your home.

8 DIY Bathroom Remodel Projects

Devon Thorsby | Feb. 7, 2020

These projects can be simple updates or combined for a full DIY bathroom transformation.

The Guide to Living in a Van

Devon Thorsby | Feb. 5, 2020

What you need to know when comparing costs and plans for your dream of living full time in a van.

Are Your HOA Fees Too High?

Wendy Arriz | Feb. 4, 2020

Here's how you should evaluate the monthly fees or carrying costs for a building or neighborhood.

The Best Virtual Room Design Tools

Devon Thorsby | Jan. 31, 2020

Use these tools to create floor plans, 3D models and other details to boost your room design.

What's That Smell in My House?

Devon Thorsby | Jan. 29, 2020

Figure out the likely causes of unpleasant smells in your home.

Why Move to Lower Your Property Taxes?

Steven Gottlieb | Jan. 29, 2020

A rising property tax bill may have you considering moving somewhere new. Consider these three things before making the change.

The Best Free Interior Design Apps

Devon Thorsby | Jan. 27, 2020

These apps help you brainstorm, budget and plan your next renovation or room design.

6 Simple Ideas for Your Home Office

Deanna Haas | Jan. 24, 2020

Here's a list of tips for designing your home office, maximizing productivity and getting more work done while you're working from home.

What You Should Know About Tenant Rights

Devon Thorsby | Jan. 23, 2020

Know what protections you have when you and your landlord get into a dispute.

How to Save on Hardwood Flooring Costs

Geoff Williams | Jan. 22, 2020

Consider these tips and tools to save on expensive hardwood costs.

9 Basement Renovations on a Budget

Devon Thorsby | Jan. 21, 2020

Make your underground space a little more welcoming without going beyond your budget.

What to Know About Moving to California

Devon Thorsby | Jan. 15, 2020

No other state offers such a variety of places to live and job opportunities, but expect to pay more.

Which Home Is the Best Layout for You?

Devon Thorsby | Jan. 10, 2020

Before you buy or build a home, consider how the footprint and floor plan fit with your lifestyle.

Why You Should Sell Your Home in 2020

Devon Thorsby | Jan. 8, 2020

The housing market may not be as hot as in previous years, but selling now could be your best bet.

What to Know Before Renovating a Garage

Deanna Haas | Jan. 6, 2020

A garage renovation can add value to your home – here's what you should keep in mind before starting the project.

Best Interior Design Instagram Accounts

Devon Thorsby | Jan. 3, 2020

These interior design Instagram accounts offer advice, inspiration and resources to elevate your home design.