Before you begin searching for a new home, you should start with a credit report to understand your credit rating. This will help you understand whether you are ready credit worthy for a mortgage. The higher your credit score is, the lower your monthly payment will be. The lower your credit score is, the higher your monthly payment will be. If your credit score needs improvement, take some time to improve it by looking for errors and getting them corrected. Also, start by paying down any outstanding debt such as credit cards. It’s a good idea to maintain credit card balances below 30% of the maximum limit.
Next step is to save, if you haven’t already. You will want to ensure you have adequate savings for down payment, good faith deposit, inspection fees, and other closing fees and costs.
Once you have adequate savings and you are mortgage ready, you will want to get pre-approved for a home loan. Pre-approval is a step further than pre-qualified. This will you help you set your budget (generally 2.5 times your annual income, or 30% of your gross monthly income) as well as lets the seller know you are serious.
Meet with your agent and discuss what you are looking for in a home: price range, location, amenities, size, and age of home. Always communicate with your agent, they are working for you and want your purchased to go smoothly as possible.