1. Double check your creditIf you're thinking about buying, you should already be "keeping score." Know your credit score, and make sure to rectify any credit reporting errors before lenders take a look.
2. Understand the added cost of certain featuresAs you make your list of "must-have" home features, be sure you consider the added expenses that may come with them. Your math should include things like the cost of landscaping maintenance for extra acreage and energy costs that come with added square footage.
3. Discover where your dollars goGet up close and personal with your monthly budget and track every single thing you purchase over 30 days. Review your credit card and bank statements to categorize where you spent each dollar (e.g., entertainment, food, clothing). Several online sites and software programs can help you track and categorize spending. This will help you identify where you can cut back to put more money toward a monthly mortgage payment.
4. Research mortgage optionsYou don't always need to invest a 20 percent down payment. Explore your options, like a Conventional 97 from Fannie Mae. Just 3 percent down is enough to help you qualify for this program, as long as it's for a fixed-rate mortgage on a single-family home for under $417,000. But there are other guidelines and we can refer you to a lender to discuss your options.
If you're ready to buy a home, we can help you calculate how much house you can afford, then find a home you'll love within your budget.