Everyone wants to manage their money better and save, so I'm embarking on a series of interviews with KeyBank about financial fitness. You can catch them on air between 10 am and 2 pm each Thursday or online HERE.

In a recent interview with Aaron Hayes, vice president and consumer service department manager at KeyBank, we talked about one of the most important decisions you'll make in your life: buying a home.

You can listen to the full interview here:

I started by asking Aaron what is the first thing people should do when they're considering the purchase of a new home:

One of the first things you should do is estimate the price of the home. This doesn't necessarily mean the amount you've been pre-qualified to borrow from a bank - you want to try not to think of your maximum amount you've been pre-qualified for at your target price. This could leave you with an uncomfortably high monthly payment. Targeting a price range that is lower than your maximum amount gives you some wiggle room to bid higher if needed when negotiating or you can leave money in your budget to deal with any repairs or renovations that may pop up.

Those are all pretty good things to know, but what about the down payment? Here's what Aaron says:

It's important to talk to your banker about how much you'll need for a down payment. That's going to be a mixture of what type of loan you'll be getting, your credit score, and your comfort level. Some loan types allow for low down payments but may require you to pay private mortgage insurance if you do, while others may not. Regardless of how much your down payment is, make sure to check out the different types of loans as well as your down payment requirement.

Last but not least, I had to ask whether or not it helps to save money before you buy:

Absolutely. I would not recommend putting your entire savings into your down payment to get into your new home faster. You have no idea what types of issues you might face in a new home or in your life after signing those closing documents. It's important to leave funds in your savings account to use on emergencies and extra expenses.

Ready to take that next financial step? Learn more about KeyBank Plus Check Cashing and account options at key.com/personal/index.jsp or stop by one of their convenient locations. You can search for the nearest location here.