MAKE SURE YOU'RE (REALLY) READY
You have a stable job.
You can see yourself living in the same town for the next 5-10 years.
You're prepared for the extra work that comes with homeownership.
CREATE YOUR HOME WISH LIST
Determine what's most important to have right now - e.g., location, number of
bedrooms, a yard.
Check out the different neighborhoods, home styles and listings online to get a feel
for what's most important to you.
FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD
Request your credit report from all three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and
TransUnion). Fix any errors right away.
Determine a down payment amount (ideally 20% to avoid paying private mortgage
Calculate how much you'll need in an emergency fund for unexpected maintenance
or repair costs.
GATHER THE NECESSARY DOCUMENTS
Collect proof of employment, including pay stubs and past tax returns.
Print out bank and investment account statements from the past 90 days.
Compile your previous addresses and current landlord's contact information.
Request quotes from multiple lenders and comparison shop for loans.
Get pre-qualified for a loan (many sellers won't even consider a bid unless you're
Obtain a pre-approval letter (this requires a credit and background check, but it can
make you a stronger candidate).
ASSEMBLE YOUR TEAM
Find a real estate agent you trust and communicate well (check out agent profiles on
Zillow and Trulia).
Ask a friend or family member for second opinions as you go through the buying