If you’re looking to buy a home, there is a lot to consider. The process itself can be overwhelming and stressful. Fortunately, if you are a first-time home buyer, there are many resources and tools at your disposal that can help you get into a home you’ll love and set you on the path to homeownership.

Whatever your reasons are to buy a home, we can help! Keep reading some of our tips below to make sure you’re ready to start the process.

1. Be sure you are ready to commit to a mortgage loan. Mortgage loan terms are usually 15-30 years. Buying a house is a huge commitment. Are you prepared to commit to this home and city for at least 5 years? Do you have an emergency fund already set up that will cover at least 3 months of expenses? Do you have a stable income? If you say no to any of these questions, you may want to reconsider and hold off on a home purchase for the time being and save, save, save.

2. Get pre-approved for a loan. This is another key step to the homebuying process. With a pre-approval, you are already approved for a home loan up to whatever the amount is on the pre-approval letter. This will help guide you to homes you can afford and offers security to the seller knowing exactly what you qualify for.

3. Maintain or rebuild your credit. When you are beginning the home buying process, do not take out additional lines of credit or make any other big purchases for the duration of your home search. Lenders will typically pull your credit at least twice, during the pre-approval process, and before you close on your house to ensure you can fulfill your payment obligations.

4. Save up for a down payment. Many loans require at least 20% of the home price as a down payment, where others may only ask for 3.5% down but require you to purchase private mortgage insurance, or PMI before giving you the money.

5. Know and understand your loan options. There is no “one-size-fits-all” in terms of mortgage loans, thus there are a variety of options out there to help you get your first home. Conventional loans, FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans are several of the most common options, but they all come with their own unique requirements, so do your research before applying to any of them.

6. Pay attention to closing costs. A down payment is not always all you need before getting your home. Closing costs, put simply, are fees such as attorney fees, inspection fees, homeowner’s insurance, property taxes and others that you may incur when purchasing your first home. In general, expect to pay 2-5% of your total loan amount in your closing costs.

7. Make lists of what you and your family require before house-hunting. Be sure to include items such as needs, wants, and “would be nice” line items before searching. Consider your preferences and non-negotiables before looking and share them with your family or spouse before starting the search to ensure everyone is on the same page about home expectations and preferences.

To learn more tips to help guide you as a first time homebuyer, click here for a great article from Rocket Mortgage for additional reading, and happy house hunting!