Everyone knows that buying a home is not a one step process. There are many things you need to do to prepare for such a large purchase.

Before you start to get overwhelmed, we have compiled a checklist of 8 items that will help to make the process as smooth as possible.

1. Check your credit score

It goes without saying, but your credit score is the largest indicator when qualifying for a mortgage. The higher your score, the lower you will pay in interest.

There are several sites where you can view this number, but always remember that lenders may be seeing a different number than you. Always factor in that lenders use a more specified credit report than a generic report you pulled for free.

2. Fix any credit blemishes

Credit errors are very common and happen to the best of us. Scan your credit report carefully for anything that can be rectified fairly quickly.

Try to pay down any cards with low balances, this is the easiest way to boost your score fast.

3. Determine your budget

It is important to figure out your debt-to-income ratio in order to determine how much house you can afford. Usually this number should remain below 36%.

There are many home affordability calculators that can help determine your budget as well.

4. Find the right mortgage lender

A good rule of thumb is to check with at least three lenders to compare your options.

Different lenders offer different rates and programs, so it is best to explore all of your choices to find the right one for you.

5. Get pre-approved

Most sellers will have a hard time accepting an offer without a pre-approval. This shows trustworthiness as well as your seriousness in your offer.

When you find the right mortgage for your needs, make sure to get a pre-approval in writing to show that you’re both willing and able.

6. Save up for your down payment

To ensure the future of your financial security it is best to put down as much as you can in order to avoid paying crazy interest rates.

7. Avoid changes to your credit

Seeking new employment, financing a car, or opening a new line of credit are all huge no-no’s when going through the home buying process. Even a credit pull from a furniture store could hinder your chances of buying the perfect home.

8. Find an agent

The number one mistake first time home buyers make is trying to go at it alone.

And do not forget to ask a potential agent these four questions.

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