The word “home” is synonymous with heart. It’s where your family lives. It’s where you create memories. It’s where you stay safe against the storms of life. Understandably then, you want to have the best chance of getting a home that you love. Finding the right home is a process. If you approach the initial part of the process correctly, you’ll have smoother sailing when it comes time to pay the closing costs on the house. Here are some things to keep in mind as you move forward.

Know Your Credit tells would-be homebuyers to check their credit before they do anything else. The strength (or weakness) of your credit score will determine how much money you can qualify for. A credit score of 740 will get you mortgage rates as low as 3.6%.

If your credit score falls below that, you’ll want to start cleaning up what you can. If an old debt is still on there and can be removed, contact the credit-reporting agencies to get that done. Catch up on old bills if you need to. In other words, get all your ducks in a row. After you know your credit score, you can look more towards getting your home financed. Various realty sites, such as Fischer Homes, offer financing help and can even help you to get pre-qualified.

Where Do You Want to Live?

Before you do anything, though, you should decide where you want to live. Look at not only what kind of home you want to own, but what schools you want your kids to go to and the community amenities that you want. You can certainly do this by taking a drive through some neighborhoods of choice. However, this takes a lot of time.

You should definitely do your research about where you would like to live. Ask yourself multiple questions, such as “Is it a good place for your kids to go to school?” and “How far is the commute to work?” You should also consider taking virtual tours of homes for sale before you drive out to them. This type of feature shows you the homes that are already available in neighborhoods you want to live in. You can narrow down the houses that you’d want to look at before you go out. You can also find out if these homes are in your price range and what your financing options are. This saves time and gives you talking points for the conversations you’ll have with your Realtor.

Save Up for a Down Payment

One of the things you can do while you build up your credit is to start saving for a down payment. Kiplinger says that you should put 20% down. This ensures that you get the best mortgage rates possible. However, that’s no small amount of money. Twenty percent of $150,000 is $30,000. It takes real dedication to achieve this goal.

Find a Realtor

Once you have the money for the down payment and an idea of the home/s you'll want get a Realtor. Shop around for someone that specializes in the type of home that you want, meaning that if you’re a first-time home buyer, it might be helpful to find a person who’s good at securing financing for first-timers. If you want a higher-end home, find a Realtor that deals with luxury homes. In theory, most Realtors can sell you any house. However, each person has his or her specialty. Getting someone who can connect you with exactly what you want saves time and headaches.

Buying a house is a dream come true for most people. However, it’s not without its difficulties. Dealing with as many of those difficulties as you can before you bid on a house will cut down on the headaches you’ll experience at closing. Doing things like finding some suitable homes, getting your finances in order, and securing a good Realtor ensure that your dream of owning a home can become a reality.

Author's Bio: 

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.